EDISON, NEW JERSEY – Sravanth Malla from Haverstraw, New York won the 2017 National South Asian Spelling Bee on Friday, August 4, in Edison, New Jersey, by correctly spelling the word chytridiales, which means an order of simple, aquatic fungi of the phylum Chytridiomycota and took home a cash prize of $3,000.
Sreeniketh Vogoti from St. Johns, Florida was the first runner-up and Navneeth Murali from Torrance, California came in third.
The South Asian Spelling Bee, which was celebrating its 10th year, was organized by Touchdown Media Inc. Sony Entertainment Television broadcasted the Spelling Bee in over 120 countries.
Siyona Mishra, winner of the 2016 South Asian Spelling Bee and Shourav Dasari, winner of the 2015 South Asian Spelling Bee, also made a visit to the Bee this year.
“It fills my heart to see such talented young spellers from across the country who make us proud as a community. The initiative is unique in its reach and engagement and we are very blessed to have the patronage for over a decade of families who make it a prestigious platform. My hearties congratulations to the winner,” said Rahul Walia, founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee.
The Bee was open to children up to 14 years of age and was held throughout the year in eight regional centers across the United States including New Jersey, DC Metro area, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Bay Area, Charlotte and Ghana.
Altogether there were over 600 spellers in the Bee this year out of which 17 of them made it to the Finals.
Over 80 percent of the families and spellers are usually first time applicants who just want to get the exposure and experience of being in the South Asian Spelling Bee.
According to applicant responses, 67 percent of the parents are from the field of Information Technology while 18 percent are from medical related fields and the remainder were from legal, other professional and entrepreneurs.
Families reported a median household income range of over $243,000 per annum.
“We are extremely happy with Sravanth’s win at the Bee as it goes to show that today’s South Asian kids are all rounders and highly dedicated to their craft. We produced a special section called “Meet the Spellers” where the viewers will have an opportunity to get to know some of the spellers including Sravanth better,” said Tim Tan, Managing Director of Kawan Foods.
“Nail Biting contest year after year and I personally was unable to get up during the bee! It’s amazing to see the pool of talent from our community and am happy for Sravanth Malla’s win and excited to get to know him and some of the other spellers better in the ‘Meet the Speller’ series airing shortly on Sony,” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of the North American branch of Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.
Only children up to 14 years of age are allowed to participate in the South Asian Spelling Bee.