Kavya Shivashankar wins Scripps National Spelling Bee 2009

May 29th, 2009 - 3:16 pm ICT by John Le Fevre  

Kavya Shivashankar Kavya Shivashankar, a 13-year-old student from Olathe, Kansas, whose parents migrated to the United States from India has won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee 2009 final.

The victory was Kavya’s fourth attempt at the national spelling championships, after having finished 10th, eighth and fourth over the last three years.

The word that clinched the $US40,000 prize money and winners’ trophy for Kavya was “laodicean” – meaning lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics.

In earlier rounds, Kavya effortlessly rattled off seemingly challenging words like “hydrargyrum,” “blancmange” and “baignoire.”

The championships were held in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt in Washington D.C., with a calm and collected Kavya beating 11 other students who had all made it through a grueling series of state-wide and regional competitions to reach the final.

This years event was the 82nd, making the Scripps National Spelling Bee America’s largest and longest-running educational promotion. The event was broadcast live on the ABC television network with Emmy Award-winner Tom Bergeron hosting the 16-round final.

A student at California Trail Junior High School, Kavya enjoys playing the violin, bicycling, swimming, and learning Indian classical dance. She plans to become a neurosurgeon.

Other words finalists were asked to spell include: antonomasia, bouquiniste, oriflamme, guayabera, isagoge and sophrosyne, phoresy, menhir, maecenas, ophelimity, diacoele and reredos

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