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The 2010 US MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee

Niteka Mokal

In a front page story featuring the South Asian Spelling Bee, the Wall Street Journal  in its July 15 issue, honed in on the dominance of South Asian kids at such contests. The article was also carried in the MINT newspaper out of India as well as mentions in Times of India and other leading publications across the world.

Over the past two weeks, the 2010 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee (www.southasianspellingbee.com) continued its 9 city tour with events in New York, New Jersey, Chicago and DC Metro and will be in Boston this weekend on July 24th.

With over 150 spellers participating at each location, the bee attracted some top talent as well as young and new spellers that competed for the coveted prizes and titles.

In New York, Sukanya Roy from South Abington, PA was the regional champ and Emily Pathil from Yorktown Heights, NY was first runner up while Saloni Jaiswal, from Gadsden, AL was second runner up.

In NJ, Anahita Iyer from Doylestown, PA was the regional champ and Neetu Chandak from Seneca Falls, NY was the first runner up while Arvind Mahankali from Forest Hills, NY came in at third place.

In Chicago, Mahati Vavilala from Louisville, KY was the regional champ and Ashwin Veeramani from Cleveland, OH was the first runner up while Sanjay Kottapalli from Clarendon Hills, IL came in at third place. At the Chicago area regionals, participants were enthralled by current 2010 Scripps Champion Annamika Veeramani, who spoke with the parents and spellers about her experience as a spelling bee champion. She also signed autographs for eager contestants who were enamoured by her presence and got the opportunity to learn and listen from a pro.

In DC Metro, Sriram Hathwar from Painted Post, NY was the regional champ and Anjithaa Radakrishnan from Nashua, NH was first runner up while Prakash Mishra, from Marvin, NC was second runner up.

“I am happy to see such new talent year over year and from center to center and this makes the platform and all the effort put into it worthwhile. This event is being recognized as the essential platform to get your first experience and also meet and interact with veteran spellers,” said Rahul Walia, Founder - South Asian Spelling Bee. “I am also excited to see the exposure being given to the spellers and the platform on a national scale by one of the most credible publications,” he added in reference to the article in Wall Street Journal.

John Derbick, Assistant Vice President, Global Brand & Marketing Services, MetLife, said “MetLife’s long history of serving the South Asian community has helped us to understand what matters most to families.  We know the significance of education, as well as the need for a plan to cover the rising costs of tuition.  We’re proud to once again sponsor the South Asian Spelling Bee, and to help families achieve their dream of attaining the best education for their children.”

The winners received cash prizes of $500, $300 and $200 respectively.

Children upto 14 years of age are eligible to participate and the contest saw spellers of even 6 years of age compete and make it past a few rounds. The last city on this tour is Boston and for more information and to register your child, please visit www.southasianspellingbee.com.

The top two winners plus one parent each from every city will be given an all expenses paid trip to NJ on August 14 for the FINALS.

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