Karthik Nemmani, an eighth grader at Frisco ISD’s Scoggins Middle School, is champion of the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Nemmani earned the coveted title in round 18 when he correctly spelled “koinonia,” which is defined as “intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community.”
The three-day competition, held this week in National Harbor, Maryland, began with 515 spellers from across the country.
Staff members and students at Scoggins Middle School followed the competition closely on national television as Nemmani spelled word after word correctly and advanced to the finals Thursday night.
"The way our school came together to support and rally behind Karthik was so inspiring,” said Barb Warner, Scoggins principal. “We couldn’t be happier for him and more proud that he is part of the Scoggins Middle School and Frisco ISD community.”
Nemmani was FISD’s first-ever competitor in the national bee, one of the nation's oldest and most iconic competitions. He won the Scoggins Spelling Bee before taking first place in the Frisco ISD Spelling Bee in January. He advanced to the Collin County Spelling Bee, where he finished second behind Naysa Modi, a three-time past competitor in the national bee.
A new invitational program, created by Scripps to level the playing field for national qualification, allowed Nemmani to compete in the national bee. There, he again met Modi, who he defeated this time on a national stage. She took second place. The third-place finisher was also from the Dallas region.
As national champion, Nemmani receives a number of prizes, including $40,000 cash, which he plans to put towards college. For Nemmani, the long hours studying and preparing for the national bee paid off.
“It was a dream come true,” he said.
Photo credit: Mark Bowen / Scripps National Spelling Bee