Ashrita Gandhari

Ashrita Gandhari



Ashrita’s journey as an avid reader and skilled speller showcases her dedication and passion for language. Her early involvement in spelling bee competitions, starting from 1st grade, highlights her natural talent and commitment to honing her spelling skills. Achieving 7th place at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2021 is a remarkable accomplishment, indicating her proficiency in spelling at a national level.

Despite retiring from competitive spelling at the age of 14, Ashrita’s enthusiasm for spelling did not wane. Instead, she transitioned to a mentoring role, sharing her knowledge and expertise with budding spellers in high school. Additionally, her involvement as a judge in various spelling bee competitions demonstrates her continued engagement with the spelling community.

The establishment of SpellWell, a platform for virtual spelling bees, reflects Ashrita’s innovative approach to keeping young spellers engaged during the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic. By founding this platform, she not only contributes to the continuity of spelling bee activities but also provides a valuable resource for students to enhance their spelling abilities in a virtual setting.

Overall, Ashrita’s journey from a competitive speller to a mentor and founder of SpellWell showcases her enduring passion for spelling and her commitment to nurturing the next generation of spellers.

At the age of 10, I found myself in a remarkable position, starring in the Netflix movie “Spelling the Dream.” The film chronicles my spellbinding journey through the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2017, ultimately securing the 32nd spot. This Netflix documentary delves into the decades-long success of Indian-Americans in spelling competitions, featuring my experience alongside three other determined contestants vying for the prestigious Scripps trophy in 2017.

The narrative of “Spelling The Dream” caught the attention of Uplift Loudoun, a digital news blog committed to sharing positive stories in and around Loudoun County. The blog covered the inspiring tale captured in the Netflix film, shedding light on the dedication and aspirations of young spelling bee contenders like myself.

Ashrita went onto win the Regional Catholic schools spelling bee competing against multiple elementary and middle schools. This helped her win the admiration of the locals and was on the news papers.

Having gained newfound recognition, she dedicated her time to inspire other spellers by becoming an announcer for BigHelp, a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization. Ashrita remains committed to coaching young spellers, actively participating in this role to the present day. Additionally, she has contributed her efforts to SpellPundit as a volunteer and established SpellWell, a league competition aimed at fostering and training students passionate about spelling.

Ashrita qualified for the national competition following the regional win in 2014. Her experience at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center near Washington DC, where the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition is held, was one of the most memorable ones. She made the most of this opportunity to make some great friends and meet inspiring people during the competition.

She consistently excelled in spelling competitions, making it to the nationals five times and achieving a commendable 7th place nationally in her final attempt as an 8th grader. Throughout this journey, she not only honed her spelling abilities but also gained valuable life skills, culminating in cherished memories that will endure a lifetime. A highlight of her experience was meeting Dr. Jill Biden, the First Lady of the United States, at the 2021 Scripps Nationals.

Post-competition, she dedicated herself to giving back to the community. This involved coaching numerous children through individual classes and summer workshops, as well as serving as a coach for the non-profit organization North South Foundation. Additionally, she co-founded four different spelling competitions, including the notable SpellWell. Furthermore, she actively participated as a judge in spelling bees conducted by SpellPundit and the South Asian Spelling Bee. Her post-competition endeavors reflect a commitment to nurturing the next generation of spellers and contributing positively to the community.

US First Lady Jill Biden sits with finalist Ashrita Ghandhari's family during the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Orlando, Florida on July 8, 2021

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