Ishya Bhavsar, an Indian Hills Middle School student, is the winner of the 2020 Johnson County Spelling Bee. She now advances to the state spelling bee in March.
Bhavsar’s winning word this year was “legerdemain,” a word that means sleight of hand.
The seventh-grader is a veteran speller who competed in the state and Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2019.
Bhavsar said she discovered her love of words in fourth grade and found entering spelling bees was a way to learn more about words. An avid reader and science fiction fan, she notes that reading helps improve her vocabulary. While she participates in other activities, she devotes time during the week and on the weekends to studying words.
Following the bee, Bhavsar explained she felt most proud when her teacher congratulated her on her recent accomplishment in front of her class.
Bhavsar said she is interested in pursuing a career in a science-related field, and might like to work for NASA someday. Another life goal is to publish a book because of her enjoyment of studying and learning new words.
Students from 24 Shawnee Mission elementary and middle schools participated in this year’s county bee.