Tuesday, March 5, 2024

14 Year Old, Indian-Origin Dev Shah Crowned US National Spelling Bee Champion, wins $50,000 Cash Prize

Fourteen year old Dev Shah, a student from Largo, Florida, won the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The competition took place in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. Dev claimed victory by correctly spelling “psammophile,” a word that describes an organism thriving in sandy soils.

Battle of Words

In a closely contested event, Dev surpassed Charlotte Walsh, an eighth-grader from Arlington, Virginia, who finished in second place. Charlotte stumbled on the word “daviely,” which means listlessly in Scottish roots, in the 14th round. Meanwhile, Dev, a student at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School, impressed the audience by spelling “bathypitotmeter” in the same round. According to the rules of the spelling bee, he needed to spell one more word correctly to secure the championship. The moment of triumph arrived as Dev was crowned the champion amidst confetti, surrounded by his parents, relatives, and other supporters.

Dev’s impressive achievement is accompanied by a cash prize of $50,000 from the event’s sponsor, E.W. Scripps Co. Additionally, he will receive further monetary prizes as well as reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster. Dev, an avid reader and talented tennis player, who also enjoys playing the cello and solving math problems, had previously participated in the spelling bee, achieving a tie for 51st place in 2019 and 76th place in 2021.

This year’s spelling bee witnessed intense competition among 231 children, ranging in age from 11 to 14 years old. Out of a field of 220 participants, Dev was one of the 11 contestants who advanced to the finals after three days of challenging rounds.

Spectacle of the Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee has gained popularity, captivating audiences with its live television broadcast. TV commentators enhance the excitement by vividly describing the contestants as they spell often-obscure words.

In the previous year, Harini Logan from San Antonio, Texas, emerged as the champion after correctly spelling 22 words during a 90-second spell-off. This marked the first instance in the competition’s history where a spell-off determined the winner. After being televised on ESPN for 27 years, the event was broadcast on ION and Bounce, networks owned by a subsidiary of Scripps. ION will once again broadcast this year’s finals.

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