Henrico is home to champion speller Ananya Nanduru

Posted at 11:12 AM, Apr 02, 2021

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Ananya Nanduru is a champion speller. The Moody Middle School 8th grader won the Henrico County Public Schools’ division-wide spelling bee in January 2021. She also won the bee in 2020.

“I was really thinking that it would be an opportunity to finally go where I couldn’t go last year. I thought of it as a chance to go farther than I ever have," she said about her mindset going into the 2021 spelling bee. “I’ve always loved spelling, I’ve always loved words. So, it’s really a way to pursue my interests."

Now Ananya has an opportunity to advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee which will be held this July in Orlando.

“I’ve been hearing about the national spelling bee since kindergarten. I remember thinking in first or second grade it would be cool to compete in the national spelling bee, so it’s always been a nice long-term goal that I’ve had," she said.

Ananya credited her success to her parents. She said they have been extremely dedicated to helping her study and practice spelling words, especially her mom who she calls her good luck charm.

“She’s been with me throughout this whole thing and it’s always worked out, so I’m just really grateful to have her," Ananya said.

What does spelling practice look like for the Nanduru family?

“For every single word, we have a two to three-sentence conversation with that word," Mrudulal Nanduru, Ananya’s mom and spelling coach, said. "Where it came from and anything that has to do with the word. For example, food. If we get that word in a restaurant or we go to the grocery store, then she sees a word on a product she’ll say mom this is a spelling bee word.”

Aside from studying words daily, Ananya is involved in the Girls Scouts and plays the violin.

“It’s an instrument that I’ve been playing for a couple of years now," she said. "I do it in school and out of school. So it’s a really nice thing that calms my brain and just makes me feel good.”

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