Thursday, May 29, 2014

"I think we both know that the competition is against the dictionary, not against each other"

Said : Sriram Hathwar, a co-champion of this year's National Spelling Bee.
(Source : Bsiness Insider)
Sriram Hathwar, a 14-year-old speller from Painted Post, New York, and Ansun Sujoe, a 13-year-old speller from Fort Worth, Texas, were declared co-champions of the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee tonight.

The declaration of co-champions came after round 22, when Hathwar spelled “stichomythia,” which is defined as “dialogue especially of altercation or dispute delivered in alternating lines.” Sujoe responded by correctly spelling the word "feuilleton,” which is defined as “a part of a European newspaper or magazine devoted to material designed to entertain the general reader.” 

Rich Boehne, chairman, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company, declared Hathwar and Sujoe co-champions and awarded them the engraved Scripps National Spelling Bee championship trophy immediately after Sujoe’s correct spelling in round 22. This is the first time since 1962 – and the fourth time overall – that co-champions have been declared at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

"Congratulations to Sriram and Ansun, who navigated their way through some very difficult words to become the 2014 co-champions,” Boehne said. “The Scripps National Spelling Bee captures the nation’s attention every May, and it’s an honor to see these young men and women step up to the challenge. The language skills they develop in preparing for this contest will help them all their lives.”

Hathwar represents the Corning Rotary Club in Corning, New York, in this year's competition. He is an eighth-grade student at the Alternative School for Math and Science in Corning.

Sujoe represents Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He is a seventh-grade student at Bethesda Christian School in Fort Worth, Texas.

This was the fifth consecutive Scripps National Spelling Bee in which Hathwar competed. He finished in third place in 2013. This is Sujoe’s second consecutive Scripps National Spelling Bee. He tied for 43rd place in 2013.

ESPN broadcast the championship finals live.

The spelling competition began Tuesday with 281 competitors who qualified to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee by winning locally sponsored bees.

With more than 11 million spellers starting at the local level, the Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational program. The competition is administered on a not-for-profit basis by Scripps in Cincinnati.

The competition was held in the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. Round-by-round results are available at

Gokul Venkatachalam of Chesterfield, Missouri, representing the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, placed third in the competition.

The co-champions each receive a $30,000 cash prize, along with an engraved trophy from Scripps; a $2,500 U.S. savings bond; and complete reference library from Merriam-Webster; and $1,200 of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica.

Each student at Hathwar’s and Sujoe’s schools will receive a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Home. Microsoft is the Official Technology Champion of the 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

About the Scripps National Spelling Bee:

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Visit for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.

About Scripps:

The E.W. Scripps Company ( serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of television, print and digital media brands. After its acquisition of two Granite Broadcasting stations closes, Scripps will own 21 local television stations as well as daily newspapers in 13 markets across the United States. It also runs an expanding collection of local and national digital journalism and information businesses including digital video news service Newsy. Scripps also produces television programming and runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1879, Scripps is focused on the stories of tomorrow.

While tying is never quite as good as winning outright, the two seemed happy to share the prestigious title. 14-year-old Hathwar summed it up perfectly when he told ESPN after the win :

"I think we both know that the competition was against the dictionary, not against each other," Hathwar said.  "I am happy to share this trophy with him."

"That's a 14-year-old wise beyond his years," commented Leah Goldman, a senior editor for Business Insider.

Sriram Hathwar is an 8th grader at the Alternative School for Math and Science (Corning, NY) and Ansun Sujoe is a 7th grader Bethesda Christian School (Fort Worth, Texas).

According to americanbazaaronline, this year, out of 12 championship finalists, six are of Indian origin; each student is sponsored by a newspaper or community organization in the area, and one is even sponsored by a university in Texas:
  1. Sriram Hathwar – Age 14, Grade 8 – Alternative School for Math and Science (Painted Post, New York).
  2. Neha Konakalla – Age 14, Grade 8 – Sam H. Lawson Middle School (Cupertino, California).
  3. Tejas Muthusamy – Age 11, Grade 5 – Rivers Edge Elementary School (Glen Allen, Virginia).
  4. Ansun Sujoe – Age 13, Grade 7 – Bethesda Christian School (Fort Worth, Texas).
  5. Ashwin Veeramani – Age 14, Grade 8 – Incarnate Word Academy (North Royalton, Ohio).
  6. Gokul Venkatachalam – Age 13, Grade 7 – Parkway West Middle School (Chesterfield, Missouri).

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