CUPERTINO (CBS SF) — A Cupertino 8th grader is getting ready to compete against the best spellers in the country this week during the Scripps National Spelling Bee near Washington D.C.

Neha Konakalla won the KPIX-sponsored CBS Bay Area Local Spelling Bee in March, and will go on to compete nationally after missing last year’s semi-finals by just one point.

For months, Neha has been studying the dictionary 30 to 40 hours a week to prepare.

“I tear pages out of this old dictionary and take it with me wherever I go, if it’s like restaurants or family gatherings,” she said.

Since fourth grade, she’s made it her goal to make it to nationals.

“My favorite word is actually humuhumunukunukuapuaa, the Hawaiian fish,” she said.

This is Neha’s last trip to the national bee, because next year she will be too old.

“I wanna have fun in my final year,” she said.

She will compete in the preliminaries Tuesday through Thursday, and the finals will be held Thursday night.


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