Fitchburg home school student wins Wisconsin spelling bee

Elizabeth Beyer:

Four-time Badger State Spelling Bee champion Maya Jadhav will go on to represent Wisconsin at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

Jadhav, an eighth-grader from Vishva Home School in Fitchburg, won the competition Saturday against 54 other spellers in grades 4-8 from across the state at the first in-person statewide spelling bee since March 2020. The bee went roughly 25 rounds before Jadhav was declared the champion.

“I feel great. I worked hard and I’m really happy,” she said. “I’m really excited. This year is just to have fun. It’s my last year, so I’m just going to study and try to have fun (at the Scripps National Spelling Bee).”

Jadhav said she studies the spelling of words online using a variety of different programs, and practices language rules and root words, while repeating the words she learns. She plans to travel with her family to the Washington, D.C., area twice in the coming months, for the Scripps National Spelling Bee and for the 2022 Raytheon Technologies Mathcounts Competition.

“I’m amazed at what Maya has done, and it’s never an easy thing. She really works hard,” said Nitin Jadhav, Maya’s parent. “This is her last year, eighth grade, so she has this last chance to go to D.C. She’s looking forward to it, and I’m happy for her. … It’s like she takes us on adventures every year.”

Jadhav won the 2019, 2020, 2021 and now the 2022 Badger State bees but was unable to travel to the national competition in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 national bee was canceled, and the 2021 competition took place. Jadhav came in 12th place in the 2021 national bee.

Aiden Wijeyakulasuriya, of Madison, and Jadhav were the last two students left standing on the stage after about 15 rounds as they grappled with a volley of words such as “ocotillo”, “persiflage” and “etagere”. The two students exchanged words for roughly another 10 rounds. Jadhav won the day with the word “obrotund” in the 25th round.

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