Wizard of Words
ing her $30,000 and the associated goodies that came with the award during her
pre-kindergarten years, while in the back
of the family car.
Her father Krishnarao would ask her
the spellings of words on passing billboards and the little girl would try to
work out those squiggle clusters into a
semblance of meaning.
“I would read and spell out the words,”
she said, adding that father and daughter
soon got into a routine that strengthened
One word that came up often then was
‘design,’ a word she may perhaps not find
as difficult today.
She passed her first school interview at
three-and-a-half, but, within a week of
joining, the authorities at the Mission Bay
Montessori in San Diego asked if her par-
ents could find a place that allowed young
Snigdha a little more activity, given the
sedateness of their own setting.
Snigdha Nandipati at
her first spelling bee
in the third grade. A
good showing there
encouraged her to
keep her nose to the
dictionary, and in the
fourth grade she won
the Long Beach
COUR TES Y: THE NANDIPATIS
Left, Snigdha Nandipati at the San Diego Spelling Bee. While her father provided backend support, her mother held her up emotionally.
Right, the Francis Parker School, where Snigdha studied when the family seriously began considering a go at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
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