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Youth Forum - Spelling Bee Champ Akshat Shekhar

Nirmala Garimella

Spelling Whiz Kid


Nine year old Akshat Shekhar, is never at a loss for words, literally. This young talented Quincy resident had been creating a buzz in the world of competitive bee contests– More notable the Spelling Bee. His most recent achievement has been winning the Patriot Ledger Regional Spelling Bee. By spelling colcannon - an Irish dish made with potatoes and greens - and pridian - an adjective referring to the day before, or yesterday - Akshat won the contest and will now represent the South Shore at the National Spelling Bee in Washington DC. Son of Shitanshu Shekhar and Alka Singh, Akshat a fifth grader enjoys other hobbies beside spelling.


Lokvani talked to this bright youngster:


  • What contest have you participated in till now?

I have taken part in the  2002-05 NSF Spelling Bees, 2003-05 NSF Vocabulary Bees, 2004-05 NSF Math Bees, 2005 NSF Geo Bee, and 2005 NSF Junior Essay Bee 


  • When you did you first discover you liked to spell words. Did parents encourage?

 My parents encouraged me a lot, especially when I did well on my spelling tests at school.


  • How often and how long do you practice?

 I practiced 1-2(5:30-7:30) hours for regional, but for the national bee it is 3-4(5:00-9:00) hours on school days and 4-5 hours


  • Is it a fun thing to do this?
  • Definitely!


  • What are the resources you used to get better?

I used special software with practice words so I could quiz myself.


  • What are the best tricks or tips in this kind of contest to keep in mind?

 Don’t be nervous, remember to breathe, get all the information on the word that you can get, never worry about winning or losing, and be calm.


  • Can you describe to us how you felt at the final moments of the competition?

I was very happy. For many years I had seen the national spelling bee on ESPN, and at that moment, I would become one of those national spellers.


  • What are your other talents or hobbies that interest you?

      I like sports, chess, math, science, and watching TV.


·        What do you want to be when you grow up?

       I will be a computer entrepreneur and possibly start a company called Microsoft Beta. Right now I am trying to learn anything and everything about computers I can possibly get my hands on!


We wish him the best of luck for all his future endeavors !




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