CLOVIS, Calif. - A Clovis 6th grader is representing the Central Valley in tonight's 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship on ESPN.
12-year-old Ananya Vinay from Fugman Elementary made it through the first three rounds Wednesday and phase one of finals Thursday morning.
Words you may have never heard before the 12-year-old is spelling like a champion with millions of people watching as she vies for that title along with a $40-thousand dollar cash prize.
"It would be really good if I won. I studied all this time. It would be like all of my hard work paid off," she said.
We spoke with the 6th grade student just before she left for part two of the final round. She was nothing but relaxed, prepared, and confident.
"I'm just trying to focus on my word. I'm just trying to ignore the cameras," said Vinay.
Her spelling team advisor Ken Engel says she's got what it takes.
"She is a veracious reader. She loves words. She loves to compete. She is very inquisitive and asks a lot of questions. Because of those things she is a force to be reckoned with in spelling bees," he said.
Her 6th grade teacher Jason Anaforian has been streaming the competition in class all week.
"What you see on TV is who she is in the classroom on a daily basis, but what she does day in and day out in the classroom is tremendous," he said.
The prolific speller is excited to represent her class and school.
"Wish me luck and hope for the best," said Vinay.