14-year-old Karthik Nemmani, of McKinney, Texas, won the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night after correctly spelling the word, Koinonia. The bee was Nemmani’s first time participating in the national finals.

Nemmani was one of 515 spellers to participate in this year’s bee, winning over Naysa Modi, 12, in the eighteenth round when she misspelled bewusstseinslage.

Among his prizes — which include $40,000 in cash and a trophy from Scripps and $2,500 and a reference library from Merriam-Webster — Nemmani also secured a Pizza Hut pizza party for his entire school in Texas.

“We are thrilled that Karthik not only knew how to spell Koinonia (coin-oh-nee-yah), but he also knew how to pronounce it correctly,” said Diane Beastrom, President and CEO of Kononia Homes, Inc.  “Koinonia stands for community, partnership, and generous sharing. The spelling bee taught the world to spell Koinonia, I hope people will also take the time to learn what Koinonia Homes is all about.”

The eighth-grade champion was able to compete in the bee through the new RSVBee invitational program, which allows parents to apply for their children to compete in the national finals without a sponsor.

This year’s bee was the largest ever.

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