I’ve written quite a few posts about our spelling journey, and how everything progressed during the 10+ years we were involved in the Scripps Bee. However, this is a story that stays true to my heart and exemplifies the end of one of my daughter’s spelling experience and the beginning of the other’s.
As some of you may already know, Kavya placed fourth at the 2008 National Spelling Bee, when Sameer Mishra hoisted the trophy. Personally, I was not ready take the pressure of having Kavya compete again in 2009 which was her last year of eligibility and I was definitely not ready to have her go through another year of preparation. In my eyes, the disappointment would be that much more when looking at the final year of eligibility and knowing that it was your last chance to compete.
But here is how it unfolded. Immediately following the 2008 finals event, we were still on that decorated spelling bee stage. I was responding to a reporter’s questions, saying that I didn’t think Kavya would be competing again. Just when I was saying that, I turned around and heard Kavya telling another reporter, “Oh yeah, of course I am coming back.” When she made up her mind, we as a family needed to support her in every way we could.
No doubt, it was an icing on the cake when Kavya was the last one standing at the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee. A dream come true for her!! What next? Now that Kavya was done with the spelling bees, we did not know if Vanya wanted to and would be able to tread in the same waters? Vanya was just 7 years old when Kavya won the championship and we could not figure out if she was actually interested in Spelling Bees or just wanted to do everything her older sister did. Having a completely contrasting personality to Kavya, we didn’t know whether Vanya had the grit and poise to handle the spelling bee competitions, although she enjoyed all of the attention she received from the media when her sister was working hard and competing.
Well, it turned out that she was genuinely interested and started preparing for the following year’s spelling bee. Lo and Behold, she won the regional competition in 2010 and and kept the continuity of us being back to the National Competition. Below is a picture of little Vanya getting ready to spell her word in the preliminary rounds.
No matter how many times we attended the bee, we still felt anxious and nervous watching our girls spell on stage. Interestingly for Kavya, it was a different experience to sit in the audience and watch her sister at the microphone. On the other hand, Sandhya and I had some consolation with Kavya sitting next to us.
Thus began the 2nd part of our NSB journey.