Brandon teen Nikitha Chandran taking second trip to Washington for Scripps National Spelling Bee

BRANDON, Fla. -  

Nikitha Chandran loves to act.  She's preparing for a school play at Brandon Academy.
 
At home, she's always practicing the piano.  But the 13-year-old's long list of accomplishments just begins there.
 
You could say spelling is her forte and the dictionary is her favorite book.
 
"It's been so easy since kindergarten," said Chandran referring to spelling.
 
And since kindergarten, Chandran has been at the Brandon Academy, a private school.
 
Her headmaster, Robert Rudolph has watched her grow. 
 
For four years now, she has competed in the spelling bee challenge, and for the past two years, she's won the regional contest, making this her second trip to D.C.
 
"For us around the school community, it's like 'She's going to D.C.!'  That is great.  I think for her there is a desire to go further," said Rudolph.
 
Chandran wants to be in the top 50.  She didn't make the cut last year, eliminated in the preliminaries. Only the top finalists make the televised round.
 
She's feeling confident she'll be on that stage this year, even though this year it's even tougher. The bee has added a vocabulary component.
 
"I think I will be fine.  Since last year, my vocabulary has expanded alot," said Chandran.
 
But she's not taking any chances.  She's studying as much as she can, and her whole family participates. And that means not just memorizing how words are spelled in the dictionary.  It's also studying their meaning.
 
Chandran feels that's the root to the success.  And her success doesn't mean bringing home the trophy.
 
"It's to get to the top 50.  That is where I want to go.  After that, it would be amazing to get into the finals.  I mean, it would be amazing," said Chandran.
 
The Scripps Spelling Bee is scheduled for May 28-30.
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