Indian-American 14-year-old Boy Wins US National Spelling Bee Championship

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Indian-American 14-year-old Boy Wins US National Spelling Bee Championship

Dev Shah, a talented student from Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Largo, Florida, emerged as the victor of the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 14-year-old prodigy showcased his exceptional spelling skills by flawlessly spelling “bathypitotmeter” in the 14th round. In the climactic 15th round, Dev sealed his victory by correctly spelling “psammophile,” denoting an organism that thrives in sandy soils.

Dev Shah triumphed over his fellow eighth-grader, Charlotte Walsh of Arlington, Virginia, who secured second place after stumbling on the word “daviely” in the 14th round. While Charlotte’s misspelling halted her journey, Dev demonstrated unwavering accuracy and determination throughout the competition.

Receiving tremendous support from his parents and relatives, Dev Shah was honored as the champion amidst a celebratory shower of confetti. As part of his well-deserved recognition, Dev was awarded a cash prize of $50,000 by the event’s sponsor, E.W. Scripps Co. Additionally, he received valuable reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster, including the esteemed Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary, which serves as the official dictionary of the competition.

Dev’s achievements extend beyond this momentous win. In previous years, he secured the 51st position in the 2019 spelling bee and the 76th position in 2021. When he’s not conquering the spelling stage, Dev indulges in various hobbies such as reading, tennis, playing the cello, and solving math problems.

This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee witnessed fierce competition among 11 exceptional contestants, aged 11 to 14, who advanced to the finals after surpassing a field of 220 participants. The three-day contest took place in National Harbor, Maryland, located just outside of Washington, D.C. The competition was not only a platform for showcasing linguistic prowess but also for fostering inclusivity, with 94 girls, 134 boys, and two nonbinary spellers among the participants.

The excitement of the spelling bee extends beyond the stage, as the event is broadcast live, capturing the intense moments as contestants wrack their brains to accurately spell obscure words. In 2022, Harini Logan, a 14-year-old from San Antonio, Texas, secured victory through a thrilling 90-second spell-off, marking the first time in the competition’s history that a spell-off decided the winner. Last year’s event was broadcast on ION and Bounce, both networks owned by a subsidiary of Scripps, following 27 years of airing on the cable sports channel ESPN. ION will once again broadcast this year’s highly anticipated finals.


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