- This year 10 Indian American kids were among 11 finalists.
The clincher was “psammophile,” a plant or animal that thrives in sandy areas. Spelling this word correctly made 14-year-old Dev Shah the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion. His chance came when the other remaining finalist Charlotte Walsh from Virginia misspelled “daviely,” an adverb of Scottish origin meaning listless. Had she spelled it right, there would have been a spell-off between the two.
Shah defeated 228 other competitors, including 10 other finalists, to win $50,000 prize money. “It’s surreal,” Dev Shah said after he was declared the winner. “My legs are still shaking,” he added.
Continuing their near-total domination of the competition, apart from Shah, there were nine other Indian Americans who made it to the list of eleven finalists: Dhruv Subramanian, 12, from San Ramon California, Vikrant Chintanabonia, 14, from San Ramon, Shradha Rachamreddy, 13, from San Ramon, Arth Dąsania, 14, from Thousand Oaks, California, Aryan Khedkar, 12, from Waterford, Michigan, Sarah Fernandes, 11, from Omaha, Nebraska, Pranav Anand, 14, from Morton, Pennsylvania, Tarini Nandakumar, 12, from Austin, Texas, and Surya Kapu,14, from Salt Lake City, Utah. Kapu made it to the last three.
This year’s total field comprised 94 girls, 134 boys, and two spellers who identify as nonbinary. One competitor did not specify a gender, Reuters reported.