South Asian Americans become joint-winners of US Spelling Bee final

World Today

Earlier this summer, two Indian-Americans battled it out for 25 rounds in the U.S. national spelling bee final, before eventually being declared joint winners. Their background wasn’t unusual, about one-third of the competitors in the final round had South Asian names.

CCTV America’s Lorna Shaddick reports.Follow Lorna Shaddick on Twitter @lornashaddick

South Asian Americans become joint-winners of US Spelling Bee final

South Asian Americans become joint-winners of US Spelling Bee final

Earlier this summer, two Indian-Americans battled it out for 25 rounds in the U.S. National Spelling Bee final, before eventually being declared joint winners. Their background wasn’t unusual, about one-third of the competitors in the final round had South Asian names. CCTV America’s Lorna Shaddick reports.
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Nine-year-old Ashrita wants to be an astronaut one day, but she’s already out of this world at spelling. And she already has a favorite word, She said it’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. It means good or great and that’s what she wants everything to be for her. She has a little bit of pressure but since she is the youngest, she doesn’t really expect to even be in the top 3 but to do her best.

Rahul Walia, founder of South Asian Spelling Bee, started the competition back in 2008. He said these contests bring out certain values important to America’s South Asian immigrants.

It’s certainly competitive. These contestants have come from 12 different U.S states and one has even flown in from Ghana. Their parents or grandparents all came from South Asia, and they’re all hoping to go home with the $10,000 prize.

For more than two hours, contestants face a range of words from A to Z, from ‘abitibi’ to ‘zubrowka’ and everything in between.

Twelve-year-old Siyona Mishra from Florida was the last standing.

South Asian Americans have done particularly well in front of these microphones. They’ve won the national U.S. spelling bee the last nine consecutive years, with many of the winners becoming minor spellebrities.

“I think it’s more because most families are focused on academics and doing well, and all the kids, like South Asian kids, know each other so they want to do well, too. It’s not really South Asian but the family works together, and they’re all academic focused,” Siyona Mishra, the winner of 2016 South Asian Spelling Bee remarked.

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