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Thursday, September 29, 2022
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DFW Spellers’ Path to the Scripps Spelling Bee


Scripps National Spelling Bee | Image by Scripps

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Three students in North Texas have qualified for the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Two eighth-graders and a sixth-grader will go on to compete for a chance at over $50,000 in cash and prizes.

One of the finalists seeking the big prize is eighth-grader Lindsey Roberts, a student in the Dallas Independent School District. According to her, making the initial cut gave her what she describes as a “very odd” feeling of both nervousness and exhilaration.

Roberts’ journey started a day before her school’s tournament. She asked to sign up as the bus was loading, and she ran down the catch to catch it. Her whim yielded a good result as she advanced to the regional round.

“I am putting quite a bit of pressure on myself to hopefully win. It would mean a lot for me and my family and my friends,” Roberts exclaimed.

The other eighth-grade finalist is Plano ISD’s Dhroov Bharatia, participating in the spelling bee for a second year after tying for fourth place in the 2021 competition. “It’s not really about the result. And if I win this year, it’s about the journey,” said Bharatia.

While he feels proud to be back, he is not taking anything for granted. Bharatia said he knows that he needs to keep working to improve if he wants to reach his ultimate goal of winning the contest.

Sixth-grader Vivinsha Veduru from Bear Creek Intermediate School in Keller is also competing as a finalist for a second time. She tied for fourth place in 2011 and is sponsored by Texas Christian University.

In 2019, Texas provided three of the eight national co-champs of the contest, all from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Dallas Sports Commission sponsors spelling bee contestants in over 30 Texas counties. While it is usually linked with well-known athletes, the commission also helps young people who advance to the national level, many of whom would otherwise be unable to afford a trip to Washington, D.C., where the national competition is held.

To ensure that no student is unable to attend due to financial issues, the commission covers hotel accommodations and airfare for two as well as provides spending money so that eligible competitors can focus on the contest rather than worry about money.

Monica Paul, the Dallas Sports Commission’s executive director, told this year’s students, “We continue to believe in you, and I think all of Dallas and all of North Texas is behind you and supporting you.”

When asked what advice they would give other students to inspire them to achieve their goals, Dhroov said that the secret to success was to set your mind to it, try as hard as you can, and never give up.

Lindsey’s response was more direct, saying, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take if you don’t take them.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee will be hosted by LeVar Burton and airs on Ion Thursday, June 2 at 7:00 p.m. CST.

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