Two North and East Texas students have qualified for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Faizan Zaki, a fifth grader at Skaggs Elementary School in Plano, and Sriya Gomatam, a seventh grader from Coppell Middle School, qualified to represent the state in the national spelling bee championship, held May 28-June 2 in Washington, D.C., according to The Dallas Morning News.
The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) announced that eighth grader Lindsey Robert qualified for the same spelling bee in 2022, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. No DISD contestants qualified this year.
San Antonio’s Harini Logan won the championship in 2022 and was also the first to win via spell-off.
The 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee, which began in 1925, will gather 200 contestants from across the nation to compete for a first-place prize of $50,000 in cash, a commemorative medal, and the Scripps Cup. The champion will also receive a $2,500 cash prize and a reference library from Merriam-Webster, and $400 of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica.
Finalists, semifinalists, and quarter-finalists will also win cash and other prizes.
Dandy Killeen, a spokesman for the Dallas Sports Commission, which hosted the qualifying bee on Saturday, told The Dallas Morning News that Zaki, Gomatam, and one guardian for each have an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the championship.
Killeen told The Dallas Morning News that Zaki’s last word was “cereza,” and Gomatam’s was “chartaceous.” Because the duo spelled their final words correctly, they were crowned co-champions.
Coppell ISD officials said Gomatam had won the district and Dallas spelling bees before claiming her latest victory.
“We are so ‘P-R-O-U-D’ of CMS North 7th Grader Sriya Gomatam, who is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee as the Dallas Regional Spelling Bee co-champion,” officials said in a Facebook post.
Skaggs Elementary School applauded Zaki for his “flawless” performance at the regional competition.
The national bee’s website states that it will announce the competition’s full television broadcast schedule on May 1.