San Jose 7th grader among winners of National Spelling Bee

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A San Jose middle school is celebrating this morning after one of its students became one of 8 winners of the National Spelling Bee last night.

Rishik Gandhasri is a seventh grader at Chaboya Middle School. He told Good Morning America this morning he wasn't so sure he could do it.

"To be honest I didn't exactly think I would win but when Dr. Bailey announced that when you get to around 20 and spell your word correctly you'll win, I thought there was a chance," Gandhasri said. He was not in class today because he is still on the East Coast.

RELATED: Scripps National Spelling Bee runs out of words, ends in 8-way tie

His classmates say they weren't too surprised when he won, but they were very happy for him.

"I knew that he had it in him. It was a little surprising though because there are so many spellers- an 8 way tie is truly amazing," said Kshitij Teotia, also a 7th grader at Chaboya.

Administrators say they would love to take credit for his success, but say Gandhasri is a hard worker and amazing student.

RELATED: Google releases list of America's most misspelled words

"He has competed a lot locally and to watch him grow over the years and celebrate as national champion is a huge honor and testament to his hard work," said acting Superintendent Dan Deguara.

Chaboya's Principal was switching back and forth between the Spelling Bee and the Warriors game last night. He was very excited when his student won and says they will do something for him when he gets back to school.

"We're definitely going to celebrate. We have to celebrate! You don't become a champion everyday," said Principal Derrick Watkins.

Gandhasri won a trophy and $50,000. He told Good Morning America will plans to put the money toward college.
Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.