US Spelling Bee: An Indian-Origin Boy, Dev Shah, Wins The Competition After Spelling “Psammophile”

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Monika Ahuja
Monika Ahuja
I have a specialization in finance but I have written for several domains including real estate, automobile, home decor, e-commerce etc. I worked in sales for over 4 years, before choosing to become a content writer. As a writer, I have worked closely with several national and international brands and have handled their social media and website content for over 3 years. With my diverse experience in the field of writing, I am looking forward to creating some engaging content for my readers.

Highlights:

  • Dev Shah, a 14-year-old Indian-origin boy from Florida, emerged as the winner of the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in the United States. 
  • He won the competition by correctly spelling the 11-letter word “psammophile,” which refers to organisms that thrive in sandy areas.
  • Dev has become the 22nd student of South Asian heritage to win this competition in the past 24 years, highlighting the consistent success of Asian Americans in this competition.

An Indian-American boy named Dev Shah emerged victorious in the highly esteemed 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee Competition in the United States by successfully spelling the word “psammophile.” This 11-letter word won Dev a cash prize of $50,000. 

This was Dev’s third time in the Spelling Bee competition. He has previously participated in the years 2019 and 2021. His triumph also positions him as the 22nd champion of the South Asian heritage in the Spelling Bee Competition in the past 24 years. Dev, a 14-year-old resident of Florida, expressed his astonishment at winning the competition, stating, “It’s surreal. My legs are still shaking.” The event took place in Maryland.

The runner-up of the competition was a 14-year-old named Charlotte Walsh from Virginia. Dev’s winning word, “psammophile,” refers to an organism that flourishes in sandy environments, as defined by Merriam-Webster. During the competition, Dev demonstrated his knowledge of the word’s origins by associating “psammo” with the Greek word for sand and “phile” with the Greek word for love. His parents, who were visibly happy yet emotional, joined him on stage to celebrate his victory.

Dev was one of eleven finalists to be selected from an initial pool of 11 million contestants worldwide. The preliminary rounds commenced on Tuesday, followed by the quarterfinals and semifinals, that was held on Wednesday. 

Indian Americans have consistently showcased their dominance in the National Spelling Bee Competition, which first occurred in 1925 and is open to students of up to eighth grade. The event was cancelled but resumed back in 2021 with a few modifications. Harini Logan, an eighth-grader from Texas, secured victory in the competition the previous year after surpassing another Indian-American contestant named Vikram Raju.

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