Indian American Origin, Dev Shah, 14, wins the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Indian American Origin, Dev Shah, 14, wins the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee
Credit: AP Photo/Nick Wass

On June 1, 2023, Dev Shah, a 14-year-old student from Largo, won the 95th National Bee after spelling the word “psammophile” correctly; a psammophile is an organism that thrives on sandy soil and areas.

Charlotte Walsh, also 14, from Arlington, Virginia, secured the position of the runner-up, after mispronouncing the word “daviely” as “daevilick.”

According to the organisers, more than 11 million people entered the renowned spelling competition held in the United States, and 11 competitors made it to the finals. Last year, Harini Logan, 14, from San Antonio, Texas, correctly pronounced 22 words during a 90-second spell-off to secure the first position.

After winning the 95th National Bee Award and $50,000 (£40,000) prize money, Dev Shah, while expressing his happiness, remarked,

It’s surreal… my legs are still shaking.

Dev’s parents, after they joined him on the stage while collecting the trophy, expressed their gratitude, and his mother said that Dev was preparing for the competition for four years. Shah, who enjoys reading, tennis, playing the cello, and solving maths problems in his leisure time, tied for 51st place in the 2019 edition of the spelling bee, and tied for 76th place in 2021. Shah, during an interview, said,

They’ve all been in many online bees and many Scripps National Spelling Bees, and I felt like a spark and a camaraderie between all of us.

Shah’s father, Deval, is a software engineer who migrated to the United States from India to pursue a Master’s degree in electrical engineering. According to a media house, Deval is also the 22nd champion in the past 24 years in the South Asian Heritage. Shah’s elder brother, Neil, is a rising junior at the Yales.

All You Should Know About the Scripps National Spelling Bee

The Scripps National Spelling Bee Competition is an annual spelling bee held every year in the United States. The National Spelling Bee was formed in 1925 as an association of various local spelling bees, organised by The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky, and the first competition was won by Frank Neuhauser after he correctly pronounced the word ‘gladiolus.’ The spelling bee has been held every year since 1925; however, it was cancelled in 1943–1945 due to World War II and 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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