8th Grader Who Won National Spelling Bee Returns Home

Snigdha Nandipati Spelled Guetapens To Win Scripps National Spelling Bee

Scripps National Spelling Bee champion Snigdha Nandipati returned home to Rancho Penasquitos on Wednesday to a surprise party with family and friends.

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Snigdha could not believe eyes when she opened the door to her house.

"It's surprising… oh my gosh," she said.

As Snigdha was greeted by family and friends an Indian ritual called "aarthi" was performed on her.

The ritual is performed anytime something extremely good happens to someone. The belief is the ritual will ward off any bad that may have come along with it.

That good for Snigdha was winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which took extreme dedication.

"For the last two months or so, I've been doing about six hours on the weekdays and about 10 to 12 on the weekends," she said. "We ended up going through the whole dictionary like a few times."

Snigdha's father coached her the entire way through. He is also a software consultant who developed custom software to help her basically memorize the spellings of each word in the dictionary.

"First, you need to learn the roots and etymology principles and the prefix-suffix words and then you apply the language rules," said Snigdha's father, Krishnarao Nandipati.

The win netted Snigdha more than $40,000 in cash and prizes, which she plans on putting toward college. It also landed her a spot on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" show Tuesday night.

"That was funny," she said. "I had lots of fun."

For Snigdha, it has been a whirlwind of a week. She said she is happy to be home and to return to a somewhat normal life. On Thursday, she will return to class at Francis Parker School and take final exams.

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