Faces of the National Spelling Bee: Snigdha Nandipati spells “guetapens” FTW

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FINAL UPDATE: 14-year-old Snigdha Nandipati from San Diego, California correctly spells the french word “guetapens” to win the 85th Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship.
For most of us growing up, our dreams of spelling glory are dashed right in the classroom, never making it out to regional competitions and state-wide spelling bees. And no matter how many games of Words with Friends some of us play, we’ll still never be spelling gurus like the 278 kids from around the country who are invited each year to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Once again, with excitement and curiosity, we look forward to watching this year’s crop of young spellers battle it out. Wednesday’s preliminaries are sure to not disappoint with a mix of newbies, three of last year’s finalists — Nabeel Rahman, Arvind Mahankali and Samuel Estep, and the youngest speller to ever compete, Lori Anne Madison, who is only 6-years-old. Only 50 competitors will go on to tomorrow’s semifinals.

In preparation of Thursday night’s finals, let’s take a look at the thoughts, yawns and reactions on the bright faces from today’s preliminaries, along with those of previous national contestants. We’ve also included the winning words and their definitions from 2000-2011.
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