Indian-American from Texas wins 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee

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Karthick Nemmani, an 8th grader from McKinney, Texas, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee May 31. (Photo: spelling bee.com)

Karthick Nemmani, speller No. 471, an 8th grader from McKinney, Texas. is the winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, held in Washington, D.C.

He spelled the word “koinonia” correctly. The word means an intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community.

Karthick was among numerous Indian-origin kids who dominated the contest from the beginning. There were 21 Indian-Americans out of 41 who made it to the final days of the gruelling contest that culminated May 31. On the final night of the contest, there were 11 Indian-Americans among the 16.

Karthik said he went 20 rounds toe-to-toe with Naysa Modi in their local Bee, only to be invited to the National Spelling Bee through the RSVBee program – where they would again square off on stage.

“It’s pretty cool to be on stage,” he is quoted saying in a press release from the Bee, adding, “It’s what I’ve been dreaming of for years now.”

It’s a lot of work, Karthik said, but worthwhile.

“I had confidence,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I expected it.”

When not spelling, Karthik likes to play tennis and watch the Chicago Bulls and the Denver Broncos. He also likes robotics and is looking forward to getting some rest.
His cousin, Srivatsav Nemmani , Speller 375 also competed. Karthik said it was nice to share the experience with him.

After the trophy was presented, Karthik said he hoped to get this far.

“I had confidence, but I didn’t really think it could happen,” he said. “It was a dream come true.”

The 11 Indian-American “Primetime” finalists were No. 484  – Abhijay Kodali; 471 –  Karthik Nemmani; 460   – Rohan Raja; 447   -Naysa Modi ;    315   – Sravanth Malla; 290  – Shruthika Padhy; 279 – Navneeth Murali; 192  – Jashun Paluru ; 133   -Tara Singh;
80   – Anisha Rao ; and 50  – Aisha Randhawa