On the morning of May 31st 2017, I was browsing the news as usual from my phone when I saw one of my 6th grade Math student’s name in the headlines. I thought it was a mere coincidence of the name but read it any way. The news item said Ananya Vinay just won the Scripps National Spelling Bee previous night. Ananya is one of my favorite Math students. She is always curious, enthusiastic, and finishes homework on time without any excuses. I also knew that she is multi-talented. But I had no idea that she even got selected for the iconic National Spelling Bee in DC, let alone ace it! I texted her mom on whether is our Ananya. If it was true, I didn’t expect an immediate response, as she would have been tired and buried with messages. She texted back immediately that is it is true. I turned on the TV to find Ananya beaming all over the morning News in major networks.
It is one of the best parts of being a teacher – genuine positive surprises. It vindicated again my decision to launch Mathus Academy seven years ago. When it was finally time to hang up my boots from my comfortable corporate job as a Senior Director at a software company earlier this year and call Mathus Academy not just my passion, but a career as well, it is these little daily surprises that gave me the strength to come out of my comfort zone . Now-a-days, I almost daily see my little angels bring new surprises and awards in different fields brining smile on my face. But I digress.
After she got a break from the hectic schedule that follows winning the National Spelling Bee, Ananya, her parents and I had a chat on what can Ananya do to pass on all the hard work that she put over the years to other children across the country. Thus was born SpellGenius program, a coaching program that Ananya designed to help other aspiring Spelling Bee champions. We had a quiet private launch of SpellGenius program a few months ago for a handful of students. We couldn’t be happier when two of the inaugural SpellGenius batch students picked up the reins quickly and qualified for 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Saisurya Lakkimsetti, a 3rd grade firebrand from Tulsa OK and Arsh Shah, a 6th grade cool-head from Dunedin FL, will be representing their respective states at the National Spelling Bee in the last week of May in Washington DC. Please watch them live on ESPN from May 29th to June 1st and cheer them on!
I am glad to announce that SpellGenius is now ready for the prime time and its public launch is in the first week of August for Mathus Academy’s Fall semester. We will have some of the finest Spelling Bee champions eager to bring the best out of your young firebrands and cool-heads. It is an online-only class. Who knows who will be going to Washington DC in 2019, 2020 and beyond and come live on ESPN!
Keep an eye when the registrations open for fall classes in late June/early July.