If you can spell “knaidel,” you have at least one thing in common with a New York teenager who became $30,000 richer Thursday night. Arvind V. Mahankali, 13, of Bayside emerged victorious in the 86th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee held at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The eighth grader from Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School needed to spell that last word correctly to cement his finish as the 2013 Champion.
According to Scripps, Mahankali was the first boy since 2008 to win the nationally televised spelling bee. In fact, the top three this year were all boys — finishing second was Pranav Sivakumar of Grayslake, Illinois and third place went to Sriram Hathwar of Corning, New York. Mahankali beat out 280 other contestants in the national contest that drew top spellers from 11 million students who competed in spelling bees around the world. Semi-finals were broadcast live on ESPN2, and the finals were broadcast live on ESPN Thursday evening.
At the end of the bee, organizers go to the “championship word list,” a list of 25 words that will decide the winner so that the contest ends in a finite amount of time. If spellers do not go down (misspell words) from the words in that list, it is possible to have multiple champions. The final three spellers encountered the following words from the championship word list before two spellers went down and one finished in first place:
Along with the $30,000 top prize, Mahankali takes home the championship trophy, a $2,500 savings bond, and several other prizes. He will celebrate his win, in part, by appearing on television shows, including the nationally syndicated morning program, “Live with Kelly & Michael.”
Congratulations to all of this year’s spellers!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Connie Ann Kirk, Ph.D. is the author of several books and has covered several of the Scripps National Spelling Bees held in and near Washington, D.C.