SJ school roots for spelling bee finalist

May 28, 2009 5:54:55 PM PDT
A South Bay student is a shining star at this year's national spelling bee finals in Washington D.C. There is only one student left representing California and she happens to be from San Jose.

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13-year-old Ramya Auroprem is on stage is Washington D.C.

"I really like words, that's one thing and really like unusual words," said Auroprem.

Her classmates from Miller Middle School are anxiously watching from San Jose.

"Oh she has been studying day and night. The whole school knows about it and we're like really proud of her," said Noopur Gosalia, Auroprem's friend.

Auroprem cleared rounds four and five after correctly spelling the words purlieu and kichel. Her friends say her personality is just as impressive.

"She's a really nice person. She doesn't have that arrogant air like a lot of people do when they are really good at something," said Nikhil Buduma, Auroprem's friend.

Auroprem's mastery of words is well known around campus. For three years -- sixth, seventh, and eighth grades -- she's taken top honors in her school's spelling bee competition. However, this is her first time at the national level and Auroprem's teacher Joanna Johnson found herself a little on edge.

"As soon as I saw her go up for round six, I was really, really nervous for her and yes goose bumps started, and I actually got a little teary," said Johnson.

The word in round six would determine if Auroprem went on to the finals or went home. Let there be no doubt the will of an entire school is with Auroprem on her quest.

"We're very impressed with her great poise she's showing and we're all rooting for her," said Miller Middle School principal Richard Taylor.

And then the moment of truth.

"Senryu. S-E-N-R-Y-U. Yes!" said Auroprem.

Her parents beamed and her classmates cheered.

"She has a really positive attitude and stuff and I think it was really cool to see her on TV supporting our school," said Ruhi Sharfuddin, Auroprem's friend.

Auroprem's says reaching the finals is simply magical.

"I really dreamed of coming to Washington D.C. and that's come true and it's amazing to reach ABC and the national finals," said Auroprem.

A competition that started with 293 spellers is down to 11 finalists and tonight there will be one winner.

You can watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals tonight on ABC Channel 7. It starts at 8 p.m. Pacific Time.

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