Bakersfield · Education · Fresno · Modesto · Visalia/Tulare

How are Valley kids faring at the Scripps National Spelling Bee?

The San Joaquin Valley is already home to one Scripps National Spelling Bee winner.

Could it become home to two?

The first, of course, was 2017 championship winner Ananya Vinay from Fresno’s Fugman Elementary School.

Now, her younger brother – fourth grader Achuth – is battling it out on the national stage. And he’s not alone from the region, either.

Also competing in National Harbor, Md., are the following: Kayla Barnes of Visalia, Gabriel Nobleza of Bakersfield, and Alisha Chakravarty of Turlock.

Here are the words the kids have seen:

Round 2

  • Kayla Barnes, Visalia: daikon
  • Alisha Chakravarty, Turlock: conspectus
  • Gabriel Nobleza, Bakersfield: petrel
  • Achuth Vinay, Fresno: pergola

Round 3

  • Kayla Barnes, Visalia (Eliminated): coffering, misspelled as cophering
  • Alisha Chakravarty, Turlock (Eliminated): Rooseveltian, misspelled as rooseveltean
  • Gabriel Nobleza, Bakersfield: vilify
  • Achuth Vinay, Fresno: divan

Round 3 continues on Wednesday, though no Valley participants are in those groupings.

Following the conclusion of Round 3, organizers will compare scores on the Preliminaries Test. The top 50 scorers on the Preliminaries Test who have spelled words correctly will advance to the Finals on Thursday.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at