North Texas Spelling Contest Finalists Focus on Role Models and Strategy Ahead of National Finals

Texas will once again be well represented at the Scripps National Spelling Bee which returns after the tournament was canceled last year.

Two students from the region are heading to Florida as finalists: Vivinsha Veduru, 10, a fifth-year student at Bear Creek Intermediate School in Keller, and Dhroov Bharatia, 12, a seventh year from Wilson Middle School in Plano.

Eleven finalists – including two other Texans from Waco and Austin – are competing for first place and a cash prize of $ 50,000. Scripps canceled last year’s bee due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first time it had been canceled since World War II. This year is its 93rd event.

12-year-old Dhroov Bharatia is one of two finalists from North Texas who will travel to Scripps National Bee in Florida next week.(Authorization / Plano ISD)

Dhroov said he was grateful he had come this far in spelling and was ready to show off his linguistic talent. Having a strategy is the key, he said.

Instead of memorizing the dictionary, he looks at the roots and patterns of words. Looking at the pattern of the word, Dhroov associates it with a certain language and then uses the definition to remember how the word is spelled.

“This is really how I study most difficult words,” he said. “It’s like a scene that’s out of focus and the more you watch it, it gets clearer and clearer.”

For example, he said that “sch” are common starting letters in German for words like “schnauzer” and “schadenfreude”. Dhroov uses the “sch” pattern for the word base, then asks for the definition to help remember the spelling.

He is an avid reader, especially of the Harry potter series of books, where he read 650 pages of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in about six to seven hours.

“As I read I became really fascinated by the effects of words and how they can describe even the most mundane aspects of the story,” he said.

Dhroov is not new to the world of spelling, having entered his first local competition in fourth grade at the age of 8.

At the start of this year’s spelling contest, Dhroov wasn’t necessarily aiming to win but to enjoy the trip.

The college student’s favorite part of this experience is learning the origins or roots of words they didn’t know before. And whenever he’s tasked with spelling a particularly difficult word, hearing the official say he did it right is a surreal feeling.

Whatever happens to the spelling contest finals this year, Dhroov said he will continue to pursue his love of words. He’s a budding engineer, but he noted that spelling is a universal skill.

“[Spelling] can be applied to everything: science, music, art, ”he said. “That’s really why I love doing spelling, because I can use it in all contexts. “

Vivinsha Veduru, 10, is one of two finalists from North Texas who will travel to the Scripps National Bee in Florida next week.
Vivinsha Veduru, 10, is one of two finalists from North Texas who will travel to the Scripps National Bee in Florida next week.(Neck / Keller ISD)

Vivinsha, 10, is the youngest spelling left in the bee, but that didn’t stop her enthusiasm for the final.

“I feel both elated and a little nervous at the same time,” she said in an email.

The strategy for the fifth year is to study language patterns as well as the roots of Latin and Greek words. Vivinsha’s entry point into the world of spelling was at an event at the Christian University of Texas where the third-grader won third place.

After that, she started studying and researching spelling, which helped her become the spelling that she is today.

Vivinsha – who loves Mathilde and the Harry potter series – said reading frequently helps in bee word meaning turns where spellings need to provide definitions. She wants to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and math, and said spelling would definitely help her when she does.

Vivinsha is excited to be in Florida and ready to compete.

“The thrill of finishing a round without hearing the bell is my favorite thing about the bee,” she said.

To the last bee in 2019, eight spellings became co-champions after competing for 20 rounds, including three from North Texas. It was the first time in the event’s 92-year history that the coveted title had been shared by a band.

Where to look

The Scripps Spelling Bee National Finals will air on ESPN 2 on July 8 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The DMN Education Lab deepens coverage and conversation on pressing education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network , Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of Education Lab journalism.

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