The West Austin Chamber of Commerce hosted the 2019 Austin Regional Spelling Bee with 50 Austin area spellers on March 14 in Four Points.
The 1st and 2nd place winners were the same as 2018 with Pranathi Jammula from Austin ISD’s Kealing MS coming in as the champion, and Pranav Nandakumar from Magellan International School as the runner-up. Eshan Bharadwaj from Cedar Park MS came in 3rd place.
There were four local students in the competition this year.
Speller 4, Aarushi Boppidi of Canyon Ridge Middle School (Placed 23rd, correctly spelling words including reckless, tamarind, prankster, condiddle)
Speller 30, Ella Shahinian of Laura Welch Bush Elementary (Placed 45th, correctly spelling crimson)
Speller 38, Justin Weaver of River Place Elementary (Placed 33rd, correctly spelling condor, glockenspiel, jester)
Speller 42, Mary Kate Liechty of Steiner Ranch Elementary (Placed 17th, correctly spelling dearth, douane, broach, collide, affability)
The local spelling bee took place at the Church at Canyon Creek auditorium. It was the second year that the West Austin Chamber has sponsored it and provided an opportunity for Austin spellers to participate in Austin. Prior to 2018, Austin spellers participated under the Houston PBS program.
Paul O’Brien of MediaTech Ventures and Steiner Ranch Post was the emcee. The pronouncer was Karen Sullivent, teacher at Hays CISD and the three judges were all Four Points folks. Nihar Janga, Kristi-Lee Nordin and Madeline Strickland.
Janga, 8th grader at Canyon Ridge Middle School, was the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee co-champion and the youngest ever in records to win the Bee at age 11 and the only contestant to achieve a perfect score in the preliminary rounds from 2016. Janga, 14, won the bee in his first-time appearance. His winning word was Gesellschaft and he has spelled words such as Groenendael, Taoiseach, and promyshlennik on his way to winning the bee. He lives with his parents and elder sister Navya in Steiner Ranch. .
Lee-Nordin, owner of Cups & Cones, has been highly involved with community volunteering and school spelling bees for over 10 years. She is a former educator and has always been passionate about language learning.
Strickland came up through the Leander ISD system, graduated from The University of Texas, and followed her dreams to a 4th grade classroom at River Ridge Elementary, where she teaches 4th grade language arts and Texas history.
Karen Sullivent is in her 26th year of teaching, and for the last 13 years has been at Buda Elementary.
The winner of the Austin Regional Spelling Bee received a paid trip and entry into the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee from May 27 – 30 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
Sherwin Field of fieldphotography.com