Fugman Elementary Student to Compete in Scripps National Spelling Bee this Summer

Fugman Elementary sixth grader Achuth Vinay is the Scrips Spell Off champion this year. He also was crown champion in 2019 when he was a fourth grader. (CUSD)

On March 15-16, the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools held their 27th annual “Scripps Spell Off.”

This year, the event was held via Zoom and broadcasted live on YouTube. Elementary and middle school students competed against each other to see who would qualify for the preliminary rounds of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Fugman Elementary school’s sixth grader Achuth Vinay earned the title of spelling bee champion and is set to compete in the noteworthy national event.

For contestants this year, new rules were put in place to make sure the competitive was fair to all who participated.

With students and administrators seen in dozens of boxes across the screen, all participants were asked to turn off their camera and mute their microphones until it was their turn.

Students also were asked to show their hands on-screen when it was their turn to spell out various words.

For Vinay, this isn’t the first time he’s been crowned as Fresno County’s spelling bee champion.

Unfortunately due to COVID-19, the event was cancelled last year. However, back in 2019, Vinay qualified and competed at the national Scripps event as a fourth grader.

In 2017, Vinay was also able to attend and watch as his sister Ananya Vinay was crowned America’s top speller after winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee that year.

As a contestant in the preliminary rounds, Vinay will compete against students across the country for a spot as one of the 10 to 15 finalists who will move forward to the in-person competition that takes place on July 8 in Orlando, Florida.

Halle Sembritzki was born in the small Swedish village of Kingsburg, California and graduated from Kingsburg High School in 2017. She now attends Fresno State and will graduate with her Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism in spring 2021. She aspires to use her voice as an outlet for those who can’t use their own and hopes to educate the public on important news topics happening within her community and the country.