"Koinonia": When Indian-American Beat Indian-American In Spelling Contest

02 June, 2018, 00:54 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Melodie Loya looks upward as she tries to spell a word during the Scripps National Spelling Bee at National Harbor in Oxon Hill Maryland U.S

Karthik Nemmani, a 14-year-old from McKinney, Texas, correctly spelled the word "koinonia" on Thursday to win the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland.

Spelling bee fans in South Florida will have a local rooting interest tonight. "She deserved the trophy as much as I did", Karthik said of Naysa. It was the largest group in contest history to advance to the championship finals.

The past 13 champions and 18 of the last 22 have been Indian-American, and that trend could easily continue.

Koinonia means Christian fellowship (you can see full definition here). Naysa tied for seventh place last year, tied for 46th place the year before and tied for 50th place in 2015.

Fourteen-year-old Karthik Nemmani of McKinney, Texas was the victor of the ultimate resume builder for a teenaged student - along with $40,000 cash-money, a trophy, a $2,500 savings bond, and encyclopedias (they still make encyclopedias?).

The cash prize for second place is $30,000. And several had appeared at the national bee in previous years.

Nemmani's loss to Modi at the county level would normally have disqualified him for the national bee but he took advantage of a new program called RSVBee, which allows spellers to pay to compete in the national bee. The national bee, now in its 93rd year, has become so popular that the bee organizers have had to do some reorganization.


Reagan's spelling - balaklava - was correct for the city in the Ukraine, but not correct for the garment that covers the head, neck and most of the face, which is spelled balaclava.

After her defeat, she was swarmed by dozens of current and former spellers who wished her well, smiling throughout.

While kids participating in the United States spelling bee are spelling convoluted words like "pratincolous" at the moment, it turns out that most of us are still having a hard time spelling words like "beginning" and "probably" correctly.

Karthik, for his part, took no extra satisfaction in vanquishing a familiar foe.

Nemmani's cousin, Srivatsav who was a contestant, but didn't get to the finals, said: "I knew he was going to win. We were against the dictionary". He correctly spelled "hypochondria" and "plangent" in Rounds 2 and 3.

A record-shattering 516 spellers qualified - compared to 291 the year before.

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