Spelling Bee champ celebrates in Cherry Hill

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (WPVI) -- Shruthika Padhy of Cherry Hill has been traveling from appearance to appearance since she earned a spot as co-champion in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee, appearing on 'Good Morning America', 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!' and 'Live with Kelly and Ryan'.

"It's been a whirlwind, really," Padhy told Action News.

On Wednesday, she was finally honored by her school, in her hometown.

Her principal, teachers and fellow students at Rosa International Middle School threw her the celebration they have been waiting for, complete with signs and confetti.

Councilwoman Carolyn Jacobs and Mayor Chuck Cahn presented Padhy with a proclamation, declaring June 12, 2019 'Shruthika Padhy Day' in Cherry Hill.

"You should be so proud, and we are so proud of you for what you have done," said Mayor Cahn.

Principal George Guy expounded, "So much in the media- we respond to either Hollywood or athletics- but to see academics and intelligence be exemplified here in Cherry Hill Township with a day proclaimed for you-- how incredible is that?"

Eight co-champions spelled the final 47 words of the bee correctly, going five consecutive, perfect rounds for 3.5 hours.

Each co-champ won $50,000.

Padhy explained most of that money will go toward college, but she did treat herself to a pair of sneakers. She was gifted others.
"Jordan and Nike are actually sending me a couple pairs of sneakers, and I found out yesterday because it was my birthday," she said.

Padhy prepared for the competition by studying five hours during the week and 15 hours on weekends.

She examined roots and word origins to help break down the unfamiliar vocabulary. It turns out, her final winning word was one she had studied.

"My winning word was 'aiguillette'. It's a shoulder strap," she explained. "I knew that word once I heard it, but I really wanted to make sure and take my time."

She soon got back to the school day, with a geometry final on the schedule for the afternoon.

Padhy graduates next week. There is a lot to celebrate.
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