The annual Scripps National Spelling Bee concluded yesterday (June 1) in Oxon Hill, Maryland, with 12-year-old Ananya Vinay taking the top prize.
Per a press release, the Fresno, California, native won the bee in the 36th elimination round by correctly spelling “marocain.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as a type of ribbed fabric used for dresses. The BBC notes that Vinay is the competition’s 13th consecutive Indian-American champion in a row. NPR adds that she is both the youngest-ever finalist and first in four years to win without a tiebreaker. She defeated the other South Asian-American finalist, 14-year-old Rohan Rajeev.
According to the bee’s announcement, Vinay’s victory earns her a $40,000 cash prize from Scripps, a $2,500 cash bond and full reference library from Merriam-Webster and $400 worth of Encyclopedia Britannica reference materials. Vinay told the BBC that she intends to split the cash with her younger brother and put her share toward college expenses.