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My 11-year-old daughter and I watched with stunned amazement as the 2015 National Spelling Bee Finals whittled down to the last two contestants. Pictured above are co-champions, Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam.

With the field disqualified, Vanya and Gokul were the only ones to remain standing. And remain standing… they did. Vanya and Gokul went head to head, one at a time, spelling words from all types of subjects and origin. Such included: población, zygoneure, scherenschnitte, and sprachgefühl. Pretty impressive, I must say. Neither missed a letter. The final round had them going back and forth thirteen times, until a tie was declared. Gokul needed to spell nunatak to secure a shared victory. Of course, without hesitation, he speedily nailed it.

The cool thing about watching this competition each year, is the exposure I get to words I’ve never seen before. (Which is usually like… all of them. LOL) This year did not disappoint.

During the final round…

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