Shourav Dasari, who correctly spelled the word ‘Psocoptera,’ meaning an order of insects including booklice, clinched the National Champion title and took home a cash prize of $10,000 during the 2015 National MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee finals in New Brunswick , New Jersey on August 14th.
The 12-year-old kid from Spring, Texas, beat 23 other finalists at the championship, organized by Touchdown Media Inc. and sponsored by MetLife. The event was broadcast live on Sony Entertainment Television. Jairam Hathwar from Painted Post New York was the National 1st runners-up while Siyona Mishra of Florida and Smrithi Upadyayula of Texas were National 2nd runners-up.
Sony Entertainment Television was the exclusive rights holder and broadcast the event in over 119 countries. “On behalf of MetLife, I’m pleased to congratulate Shourav, Jairam, Siyona and Smrithi, and all the contestants who took part in this year’s competition on a job well done,” said Laurel Daring, assistant vice-president, diverse markets, MetLife Premier Client Group.
“In cities across the country, our financial professionals are part of the fabric of their local South Asian communities, and this event provides a wonderful opportunity for all of us to give back.”
Special guest at the finals was Gokul Venkatachalam, the 2014 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee National Champion and 2014 Scripps National Co-champion, who helped co-host a portion of the event.
The event was open to children up to 14 years of age and was held in 12 regional centers across the United States, including New Jersey, DC Metro area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Bay Area and the newly added center Charlotte.
The contest was conducted in written and oral format at the regional levels which served as the elimination as well as selection process for the finalists. After registering their children online, parents brought them to the designated center and a 25-word written test was administered. Children had to spell 15 or more words correctly to qualify for the afternoon oral round and from there the top three were awarded prize money and the top two qualified for the finals.
“We are extremely happy with Shourav’s win at the Bee as it goes to show that todays South Asian kids are all-rounders and highly dedicated to their craft. We produced a special secton called “Meet the Spellers where the viewers had an opportunity to get to know some of the spellers including Shourav better,” said Tim Tan, Managing Director, Kawan Food, makers of the world’s most popular Roti Paratha Brand in the world— Kawan Paratha.
“Nail-Biting contests year after year and I personally was unable to get up during the bee! It’s amazing to see the pool of talent from our community and am happy for Shourav’s win and excited to get to know him and some of the other spellers better in the “Meet the Speller” series airing shortly on Sony,” said Jaideep Janakiram, head of North America, Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.
Children up to 14 years of age were eligible to participate and the contest saw spellers of even 6 years of age compete and make it past a few rounds. Registration for 2016 will open in October this year. For more information visit www.SouthAsianSpellingBee.com.