Mishra achieved success with the word "guerdon" which means "a reward". The 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee is a Super Bowl of American academia, a place where 12-year-olds are TV stars and spelling judges are hounded for autographs. In the end, some of the nation's outstanding young word experts were winnowed down to Sidharth, a seventh-grader, who wore a tie and a pullover sweater, and Sameer, an eighth-grader in an orange shirt. They were the last survivors of a dozen finalists; that dozen remained after youthful spellers battled all afternoon, starting with 288 contestants, going through 45 spellers in three rounds of semi-finals and ending with 12 who advanced to the final round. The winner gets 35,000 dollars and other prizes.
Spellers came from across the United States as well as Jamaica, the US Virgin Islands, South Korea, New Zealand and Canada. Most of the words represent things the children have never encountered. The spellers practice daily, some for several hours a day, some online. Others listen to recordings of spellings as they sleep.