Popular South Asian Spelling Bee going virtual for regionals

Scene from a past South Asian Spelling Bee where a speller tackles a word (Photo YouTube videograb)

Organizers of the popular South Asian Spelling Bee whose participants have done well at the national level as well, announced recently that it would be conducting a special Virtual Edition Season for 2020.

After a successful Townhall on June 2, attended by several Bee families and featuring former champions, anthropologists and coaches, it was decided that the community would be best served with a hybrid model for 2020.

The South Asian Spelling Bee-Virtual Edition will take place in August and September of 2020. For complete details, schedules, rules and to register, visit southasianspellingbee.com

In this model there are several noteworthy developments, a press release from the organization said providing the following details:

First a total of 6 regionals will be conducted virtually via Webex Conferencing representing the cities of Houston, TX; Dallas, TX; Seattle, WA; Raleigh, NC; Edison, NJ and Fremont, CA. Interested spellers can register for any regional at the stipulated date and participate to qualify for the Finals. As usual, the speller can register and participate in only one of the regionals.

Second, currently, the plan is to hold the Final competition in-person observing the strict precautions and guidelines as mandated by the state of New Jersey. As a result, audience participation will be limited. However, this is subject to change based on the pandemic status. If deemed unsafe for in-person, then the finale will be conducted virtually as well.

Third, there will be 12 spots available via the SAS-Bee program, that allows for spellers to reserve the seat at the finals if they haven’t qualified by being the first and second place winners at any regional.

Finally, as an exception for 2020, the South Asian Spelling Bee is relaxing the eligibility criteria. Spellers must not have attained the age of 15 years as of Jan 1, 2021. Furthermore, the qualification of lineage is relaxed, so any spellers across the world can register to participate.

“These are landmark exceptions in the 13-year history of the South Asian Spelling Bee,” said Rahul Walia, founder. “We are very fortunate to have the support of the South Asian Engagement Foundation, Kawan Foods, Sony Entertainment Television and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, to help us bring the platform to the community in 2020.”

Managing Director of Kawan Foods Timothy Tan, described the SAS-Bee as “the gold standard of Bees.”

Jaideep Janakiram, Head of North America, Sony Pictures Entertainment Limited, called the The South Asian Spelling Bee “the premiere platform for spellers of all ages.”

“… at Sony, we wanted to ensure that the platform is made available in some form to the spellers,” Janakiram said.

This year’s charity partner for the regional competitions in Fremont, California, and Seattle, Washington, is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading hospital treating childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.





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