Cool and collected, Kavya Shivashankar wrote out every word on her palm and always ended with a smile. The 13-year-old Kansas girl saved the biggest smile for last, when she rattled off the letters to “Laodicean” to become the nation’s spelling champion.
The budding neurosurgeon from Olathe, Kan., outlasted 11 finalists Thursday night to win the 82nd Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking home more than $40,000 in cash and prizes and, of course, the huge champion’s trophy.
After spelling the winning word, which means lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics, Kavya received huge hugs from her father, mother and little sister.
Congratulations to Kavya, her family, Olathe, and Kansas for this victory.