Indian-American teenager is US champion 'Bee'

The 13-year-old Kansas girl was declared the Spelling Bee champion after she correctly spelled ‘laodicean’, which means lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics, at the end of the grilling finals which included 11 students from all across the country, seven of whom happened to be Indian-Americans.
An eighth grader student from Olathe in Kansas, Kavya beamed as he was hugged by his father Mirle, mother Sandy and little sister Vanya. “I can’t believe it happened. It feels kind of unreal,” the cool and composed girl who names Nupur Lala, the 1999 champion, as her role model, said.
Kavya took home more than $40,000 in cash and prizes besides the huge champion’s trophy, and looks forward to becoming a neurosurgeon. She participated in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 finals, tying for 10th, 8th and 4th place, respectively.
Tim Ruiter, 12, a seventh grade student from Centreville, Virginia was declared the runner-up, while Aishwarya Pastapur, 13, from Springfield in Illinois got the third spot.
A voracious reader and dedicated student, Aishwarya was instrumental in leading her Mathcounts team to state-level competition by winning first place in county-level competition two years in a row.

Desi dominance

This is the second time in a row that an Indian-American has been declared winner of the Spelling Bee championship, a competition that has been traditionally dominated by students from the community.
Eight Indian-Americans have now won the title, including six of the past 10 winners.
Last year, Sameer Mishra from Lafayette, Indiana, got the top slot after he correctly spelled ‘guerdon’. Rageshree Ramachandran from Sacramento, California was the first Indian American to win the championship in 1988. Nupur Lala from Tampa, Florida won it in 1999.
Among other Indian-Americans who have won the championship include Pratyush Buddiga from Denver, Colorado in 2002, Sai R Gunturi from Dallas, Texas in 2003 and Anurag Kashyap from San Diego, California in 2005.
In all 293 spellers participated in the nationals of the Spelling Bee Championship held in Washington for the past three days, which culminated with the finals on Thursday night. It was watched live by millions of people across the United States.
The spellers range in age from nine to 15 years old, but two-thirds were either 13 or 14 years old. Interestingly, English was not the first language of 33 spellers, and 117 spellers speak languages other than English.

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