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Turlock student shines at state spelling bee, heads to nationals
Alisha Chakravarty
Turlock Junior High School student Alisha Chakravarty has qualified, once again, to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee (Photo contributed).

Turlock Junior High School student Alisha Chakravarty impressed at the California State Junior High Spelling Bee on Saturday in San Rafael, representing Stanislaus County and placing in the Top 4 during a grueling, four-hour competition.

Chakravarty correctly spelled over 115 words in a row to place as one of the top spellers in the bee, including puzzlers like “exuviae,” “terraqueous,” “quaestor” and “plenipotentiary.” She last competed at the state level in elementary school as a sixth grader in 2017, where she placed in the top five.

In order to qualify for the state junior high bee, Chakravarty earned first place at the Stanislaus County Office of Education’s junior high spelling bee in November, where she spelled so many words correctly, she was announced as the champion early.

Chakravarty takes the spelling bees she competes in seriously, studying for anywhere from two to four hours per day. She studies suffixes and prefixes, she said, and has also taught herself multiple foreign languages over the years, like Latin and Greek, to help distinguish different spelling techniques used by each.

Chakravarty’s most recent performance has earned her the chance to compete on the national stage for the second year in a row at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She made the trip to the Scripps competition last May and was one of 519 students throughout the nation to participate.

Chakravarty made it through the competition’s first three rounds but was ultimately ranked No. 42. Only the top 41 spellers made it to ESPN’s prime time showing of the competition.

This year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee will take place May 26-31, and it’s Chakravarty’s last chance to make her mark before aging out of the competition.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee preliminaries (rounds two and three) will take place on May 28 and 29, respectively. The finals will be held May 30, with part one taking place from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on EPSN 2 and part two taking place from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.
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