This 13-Year-Old Will Represent Central Jersey in Tonight’s National Spelling Bee
G-O-O-D L-U-C-K. That's how we're spelling our well wishes for one of our area's most incredible teenagers.
That teenager? She is a 13-year-old student from Somerset County, NJ.
It's Nitya Kathiravan, and tonight she'll be one of just 12 finalists competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The spelling bee is taking place this week in National Harbor, Maryland this week, for the first time in person, since the annual event was canceled for COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.
Kathiravan is an 8th grader at Rutgers Preparatory School in Somerset, but she's no stranger to the competition. She actually placed 51st in the 2019 competition.
Of course, with spelling chops like hers, there's been a TON of practice as you can imagine.
“I’ve been preparing for this since second grade,” Nitya told NJ.com this week. “I’m super excited to have a chance to compete in the finals."
In fact, wait until you hear how dedicated she is to the craft.
She tells NJ.com that she has practiced for as much 8 hours during the week and 18 hours on the weekend in recent years.
Wow, that puts all of the time I spend watching Netflix into perspective. I am SO impressed by Nitya!
And, for what it's worth, no matter how tonight goes, Nitya is ALREADY a champion in our book. There were 234 contestants when the three-day competition began earlier this week. So Nitya has already placed in the top 212 through the first 7 rounds.
In fact, she's New Jersey's ONLY contestant left in the competition.
The final word she spelled correctly last night was one that I would never BE able to spell without spell check. That's cymatium. Which apparently is a "type of molding that is wavelike in form."
Tonight's will be broadcast live on both the ION-TV and Bounce TV, networks beginning at 8 pm. The finals are hosted by 'Reading Rainbow' star and actor LeVar Burton.
The competition will be fierce, of course. In 2019 the competition crowned the "Octo-champs." That was when 8 spellers shared the title.
Good luck, Nitya!
Meanwhile, we think THESE New Jersey words should be added to the dictionary: