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Champion Crowned At Scripps National Spelling Bee

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK, Rachel. Here's a question. Can you spell koinonia?

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Definitely not. I do not even know what that word means.

GREENE: OK. I didn't, either. Fourteen-year-old Karthik Nemmani was wondering, as well.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KARTHIK NEMMANI: Koinania. May I have the definition?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community.

KARTHIK: May I have the language of origin?

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: Greek.

GREENE: OK. There you have it. So this was last night at the end of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Karthik Nemmani is 14 years old from McKinney, Texas.

MARTIN: He's all business, man. Before this national competition, he hadn't won either his regional or even his county spelling bee. He qualified under this new invitational program. It's called RSVBee, and it allows spellers to still apply for nationals if they won either their school bee or had been a former national finalist. Nemmani managed to come out on top last night out of a record-breaking 515 contestants. And the word he nailed to take the championship...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KARTHIK: Koinonia. K-O-I-N-O-N-I-A. Koinonia.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: That is correct.

(CHEERING)

GREENE: That is amazing. Along with the Scripps Bee trophy, Nemmani is taking home $40,000 in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and a complete reference library. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.