Spelling bee: Girl of Mysuru origin emerges co-champion

The happiness of the relatives of Vanya Shivashankar — in both Mysuru and Bengaluru — knew no bounds as they learnt about her emerging the co-champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held in the US, on Thursday.

Nagarathna of Mirle, in K R Nagar taluk, a relative of Vanya’s father M R Shivashankar, said she was happy for Vanya. She is a office-bearer of the Milk Producer’s Society in Mirle. She said, like her sister Kavya, Vanya is also extremely talented. “Besides studies, Vanya is interested in acting and music,” she added.

Nagarathna said, her uncle Ramarajegowda, an advocate, and aunt Jayamma (Shivashankar’s parents), who are no more, accorded utmost priority in educating their children. “All his children excelled in life. Now it is the turn of their grandchildren,” she said.

K G Asha Manjari, Vanya’s aunt — her mother Dr Sandhya Shivashankar’s elder sister — said, when her brother-in-law Shivashankar spoke about Kavya and Vanya participating the spelling bee competitions, they did not know about its seriousness. Asha is a professor in Earth Sciences in the University of Mysore.

“An engineer by profession, who works in the telecom sector, he trained both his daughters to emerge toppers in the competition. While Kavya won the prize in 2009, Vanya has followed in her footsteps,” she said.

Dr Sandhya’s brother Dr K G Amarnath, a veterinarian in Bengaluru, said, he had no words to express his joy. “Just a year back, I was in the US and met them.
Recently, Vanya had emerged a topper in the television reality show ‘Genius Kids’,” he recalled.

“I am happy that Vanya has dedicated the prize to my mother Lakshmi Latha Govindappa, who passed away recently. My father Govindappa, who resides in Mysuru, will be a proud man,” Dr Amarnath said.

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