Ms. Shruthika Padhy is the first Odia-American Girl (kid) to have scripted history in winning the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee ( 2019) and earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for her achievement. Here is a Q & A with Shruthika, a youth talent whose amazing story will keep inspiring more and more young talents everywhere.

Please say something about you- including something unique & memorable!

Shruthika can speak five languages.

After winning the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee and finding a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records, what ways has it changed your life in the past couple of years? What else have you planned to do ?

After winning the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee and earning a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records, I got an opportunity to ring the bell at Nasdaq, feature in the Jimmy Kimmel and Kelly Ryan show and meet the famous scientist Bill Nye. Life has become very busy with high school and other extracurricular activities, but I have started more volunteering in my local community and school.

When and how did you get to showcase your expertise & talent in SPELLING? Please share some memories!

It all started when a family friend shared with us about the several academic contests including Spelling Bee being conducted by North South Foundation, a non- profit organization in my hometown Phoenix. I was in kindergarten at that time and since I was very much into Reading, so my parents thought it would be a good idea to participate in the Spelling bee. I found this first experience very exciting and decided to participate in the following year. This led to a chain of contests that I participated in over a period of several years that helped me to prepare better and win the coveted Scripps National Spelling Bee. I learned a lot and made a lot of friends in this journey.

What is the role & contribution of your family?

My family has been my strongest support throughout my Spelling Bee journey. Both my parents have been Inspiring and motivating me to give my best each time. My little brother has also been very supportive.

Who has inspired you in your journey?

Definitely the hard work and achievements of other spellers who had come before me.

Please tell us something about your other interests & hobbies!

I am an avid reader. I am very passionate about Hindustani Classical Music and have been practicing it for 10 years. I play Field Hockey at the varsity level. I volunteer for several local and non-profit organizations sharing my knowledge of spelling, vocabulary and language.

Your favorite sport/game?

My favorite Sport is Field Hockey.

What career would you like to choose in the future?

I would like to pursue further studies in the field of Biology and Economics.

Your favorite Odia festival?

My favorite Odia festival is Sri Jagannath Rath Yatra and Kumar Purnima.

Your favorite Odia food ?

My favorite odia food are pithau baingan, kakharu phula bhaja, Chandrakanti and kakara.

Your favorite travel destination and memory from Odisha?

My favorite travel destination is Puri.

Growing up in the USA as a youth with Odia roots, how do you keep yourself connected to Odisha’s culture & heritage?

I talk fluently in Oriya and attend a lot of religious and cultural functions like Jagannath Rath Yatra, Ganesh Puja, Saraswati Puja and Kumar Purnima etc organized by the local Odisha Society. I also attended the OSA (Odisha Society of Americas) annual conference where I got to see the performance and meet a lot of Odia artists and celebrities.

What , according to you, can help spread awareness about Odia culture, heritage, language etc to more & more people - esp.the younger generation growing up outside Odisha?

The younger generation living outside Odisha making an effort to participate in several social and cultural activities through their local Odia communities will definitely aid in spreading awareness about Odia Culture.

What, according to you, is the role of Odias living abroad to strengthen Odisha?

Odias living abroad can play an important role in strengthening Odisha by getting involved in various social and cultural initiatives which can spread Odia culture across the globe.

What is your message for the youth of Odisha, esp. girls?

My message for the youth of Odisha, esp. girls would be to give their best to any field, passion or hobby that interests them. This will empower them and have a tremendous positive impact on their life in high school and beyond.

REFERENCES:Various Sources

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