Past National Spelling Bee Champs, All Grown Up, Share What Life After Winning Is Like

Here's proof that it pays to be good spellers.

And the young winner or co-winners will inevitably be in the national limelight for the next few weeks after winning the grand prize of $35,000 combined in cash, a $2,500 U.S. savings bond and over $1,100 worth of reference works.

But what's life like years after the Bee for a few of these champs?

ABC News looked at four past winners, all grown up, who shared what they're up to today.

Rageshree (Raga) Ramachandran, 1988 champion

Ramachandran took home the top prize in 1988 at the Bee when she was 13 for spelling the word "elegiacal," an expression of sorrow.

Today, she's a doctor and assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, where she practices medicine and teaches.

Amy Dimak King, 1990 champion

King, now 38, saw herself on billboards and rode in a Seattle parade in a limo when she was 13 after correctly spelling "fibranne," a fabric made of spun-rayon yarn.

"To this day, he still likes to randomly tell people I was the winner of the National Spelling Bee, and they'll ask me to spell something, and I'm just like, are you serious?" King said, laughing.

Now that her kids are a little older, King is a working as a nurse at a hospital in Anchorage, Alaska, where she lives with her family, she said.

Ned Andrews, 1994 champion

Andrews, now 34, was only 13 when he won the Bee after spelling the word "antediluvian," a reference to the period before the flood described in the Bible.

Today, Andrews is a public defender for the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission. And fun fact: Andrews met the love of his life on dating website OKCupid in 2011 and is happily married, he said.

Wendy Guey Lai, 1996 champion

The Bee champ went on to study economics as an undergraduate at Harvard, where she also later went back for a degree in education.

"Winning the Bee is something I do put on my resume, but it's not something I go around telling everyone," Lai told ABC News today. "It's something I'll just use randomly like for ice breakers where you share a random fact about yourself."

After a career in finance and teaching high school math in Boston public schools for a few years, Lai said she's now a stay-at-home mom with two young boys: one 3 and the other 2. And though they love reading, she said she's not sure whether the boys would want to compete in the Bee in the future.

"My older son is just really into Ninja turtles right now, and they're both so young, so we still have a while to go before seeing if they're interested in anything beyond Donatello and Michelangelo," she joked.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

Top Stories

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events