San Diego is now home to the 2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion.
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A beaming Snigdha Nandipati proudly raised her gold trophy, immediately after taking the grand prize during the final round Thursday night.
On Friday morning, 10News spoke to the 14-year-old eighth-grader via Skype about the historic moment.
"I was like, 'Whoa, I won.' I was really happy," said Snigdha.
She said after she correctly spelled guetapens, she still didn't realize she was the winner.
"No, I was confused. Actually, there was no immediate reaction. It was delayed, so I was confused as to whether I had to spell another word," said the 8th grader.
Once her younger brother rushed on stage to hug her and the confetti began to fly, she knew she was the winner. Her parents and grandfather also joined her on the stage.
"They were really shocked. They were really happy for me. It was very surreal," said Snigdha.
She won't return home until next week. On Monday, she is scheduled to appear on "Live with Kelly," and she will be on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Tuesday.
Teachers and classmates at Francis Parker Middle School are planning a celebration for her on June 14.
Dan Lang, the school's dean of students, said Snigdha's presence on campus positively affects her classmates.
"It elevates their thoughts of the community they're in and I'm hoping -- and I'm pretty sure -- it'll also give them a little bit of 'Hey, if she can do it, I can do it, too,'" Lang said.
On Friday morning, some students wore T-shirts with the word guetapens on the front in her honor.
"I was very excited that she won; I wanted to represent her and show that I go to school with her," said student Michael Pelaiz.
The bee began with 278 contestants. The field was reduced to 50 based on the scores for a 50-word spelling test taken Tuesday and Wednesday's second- and third-round results, in which spellers received three points for each word spelled correctly.
The competition then moved to the semifinals, where a mistake eliminates a contestant.
Snigdha began the semifinals by nailing the spelling of stochastically, meaning random. She then correctly spelled compas -- a type of Haitian music, and rhonchus -- a snoring-type sound, making her among the nine spellers in Thursday night's finals.
In the finals, Snigdha correctly spelled psammon, which refers to a group of microorganisms that live in water; ajimez, a word for an Arabic type of twin window; luteovirescent, which means greenish-yellow; saccharolytic, which describes a process of breaking down sugars; admittatur, a certificate of admission formerly given by a college or university; and arrondissement, the word for a municipal subdivision in France, before her winning word.
Snigdha will receive $30,000 from Scripps, the parent company of KGTV; a $5,000 scholarship from the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation; $2,600 in reference works from Encyclopaedia Britannica, including its final print edition, and a lifetime membership to Britannica Online Premium; a $2,500 U.S. savings bond; a complete reference library from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster; and a Nook Color and online language course from Middlebury Interactive Languages.
She is the second Southern Californian to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which began in 1925. Anurag Kashyap of Poway was the 2005 champion.
Snigdha enjoys reading random facts in encyclopedias, particularly in topics pertaining to science or history; likes to read whodunits and adventure stories; collects unique coins from around the world; is a member of her school's Yearbook Club and Science Olympiad team; participates in several math-related events; plays violin and is fluent in Telugu, which is spoken in parts of India.
"She's a terrific student," Francis Parker principal Patricia McKenna told City News Service. "She's the sweetest, nicest girl."
McKenna attributed Snigdha's spelling bee success to her passion for it -- including asking McKenna two years ago to have the school resume participating in the bee program after an absence of several years -- her hard work and technique of writing the words out in her hand with a finger before giving her answer.
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