Kavya Shivashankar is 2009 Spelling Bee Champion

Kavya Shivashankar is winner of the Scripps Spelling Bee 2009 championship making it the second year in a row that a desi kid has been crowned the top speller of America (Sameer Mishra won the title last year).

The winning word was Laodicean, meaning lukewarm or indifferent.

Besides the Spelling Bee 2009 cup, Kavya took home over $40,000 in cash and prizes.

For the 13-years-old Kavya, this was her fourth attempt at winning the top honors in the prestigious Spelling Bee competition.

Kavya Shivashankar’s victory was not a surprise as she was the hot favorite to win the cup this year.

Kavya Shivashankar
Kavya Shivashankar
(Image: Spelling Bee)

Here is Kavya Shivashankar’s bio from the Spelling Bee 2009 web site:

Kavya enjoys practicing her violin, bicycling, swimming, and learning Indian classical dance. She names Nupur Lala, the 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, as her role model and the inspiration for herspelling career. She has plans for her future career as well: She looks forward to becoming a neurosurgeon. Kavya participated in the 2006, 2007, and 2008 national finals—tying for 10th, 8th, and 4th place, respectively.

This is the ninth occasion since 1985 that a desi kid has won the prestigious Spelling Bee championship.

The finals were held at the Grand Hyatt in Washington DC this evening and televised live on ABC.

Overall, desi kids fared extremely well in this year’s Spelling Bee.

Here are some interesting statistics to chew on:

* 7 desi kids made it to the finals

* 15 desi kids made it to the semi-finals

If you are looking for some historical background on desis and the Spelling Bee, here we go: Balu Natarajan of Chicago was the first Indian-American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee (1985).

Since 1985, eight other Indian-Americans have won the Spelling Bee: Rageshree Ramachandran (1988), Nupur Lala (1999), George Thampy (2000), Pratyush Buddiga (2002), Sai Gunturi (2003), Anurag Kashyap (2005), Sameer Mishra (2008) and now Kavya Shivashankar (2009).

Related Stories:
7 Desis Make it to Spelling Bee 2009 Finals
Statistic of the Day – Desis in Spelling Bee 2009
15 Desis Make it to Spelling Bee 2009 Semifinals
Sameer Mishra Wins Spelling Bee

19 Responses to "Kavya Shivashankar is 2009 Spelling Bee Champion"

  1. Ænima   May 28, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    was a thrilling finish.. she was amazing.. her reaction was endearing.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Kavya seemed so mature all through.

  2. the gora   May 28, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    I’m so glad she won. She actually seemed down to earth and that bio piece they did on her and her sister made it seem like they actually have lives and are not like some of those other contestants, like the home-schooled crazies.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Tussah Heera, the Las Vegas desi, is home-schooled.

  3. Ænima   May 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Tussah seems to have a life http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjbivDdktKc
    Serena and Ruiter seem to be happy.. not sure why you should slam all home-schoolers.
    I am against home schooling because the (probably wrong) impression that they would be deprived of social interaction with other kids of their same age group.. what is your grievance against it?

    Kavya seemed to smile at every word thrown at her..

  4. Albert Camus   August 4, 2009 at 11:41 am

    I spotted Kavya in the NSF National finals.. her mom is hot!

    Saw Anamika Veeramani too. Cool kids!

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. For those keen about the NSF finals, here’s the link.

    2. You write: I spotted Kavya in the NSF National finals.. her mom is hot!

    She must be in her mid-30??

    3. What about Aishwarya Pastapur?

    4. BTW, the Mormon kids are back and zapped to read about themselves.

    They’ll be back in a short while for some Vegetable Palav & other Indian goodies.

  5. Albert Camus   August 4, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Didn’t see Pastapur anywhere..

    Kavya’s mom is probably in the 35-40 age group.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Yummy. 😉

    Alas, you missed the free RedBox DVD yesterday.

  6. Albert Camus   August 4, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    yeah, missed the freebie.. I even got a text message from redbox.. but I was busy gawking at pretty tourist girls in DC yesterday.. not as hot as the NYC girls.. are you still in Virginia?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    No, not in VA.

    Back home.

  7. முனிAndy   June 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm


    Only 3 desi kids in the finals this year.. chinks are stealing everything. Guess I have to root for Anamika(only Tamil).. although she couldn’t properly pronounce her own name..

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Anamika Veeramani will make it this year!

    If we lose i.e. she loses, we’ll go into mourning and stop processing comments for 4 weeks. 😉

    If she wins, we’ll deliver Dev D review immly. Howzaat?

    • முனிAndy   June 4, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      romba mabbu yeridichaa? I don’t see you keeping either promise.

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      You write:I don’t see you keeping either promise.

      Just you wait (and watch).

      • STG   June 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm

        But you will process my comments atleast right? as others says “I am irresistible 😉 ”

        SearchIndia.com Responds:


      • முனிAndy   June 5, 2010 at 10:44 pm

        I waited and watched.. time expired.

        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Just returned from NYC. Tired after a 380-mile drive.

        Will (re)watch Dev D tonight.

        • முனிAndy   June 5, 2010 at 11:20 pm

          don’t tax yourself.. was just kidding.

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          We’ll definitely try to do it tonight or tomorrow.

          • முனிAndy   June 6, 2010 at 9:22 am

            actually I am more interested in seeing your “The Matrix” review..

            SearchIndia.com Responds:

            You write: actually I am more interested in seeing your …

            Bet you are interested in seeing a lot of our other….too 😉

            Let’s finish Dev D first and then we’ll get to Matrix.

        • shiva84   June 6, 2010 at 12:31 am

          SI, how much time will it take to drive 380 miles in america.

          SearchIndia.com Responds:

          Depends on where you go, traffic and construction activities (a lot these days because of the Stimulus construction projects).

          If traffic is smooth, about six hours and 15 minutes (including a stop) if you go at posted speed (generally 65-MPH on the highways).

          But if you are getting into or out of NYC via Holland or Lincoln tunnels, it can sometimes take longer. If there are bottlenecks, it can take 30 or more minutes just to get into or out of the tunnel.

    • முனிAndy   June 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm

      SI said: If she wins, we’ll deliver Dev D review immly. Howzaat?

      As you are someone who likes Broken Promises and Cannes and Bill Murray, you may like

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Working on Dev D. Our ADDled brain is easily distracted.

      Might watch Broken Flowers tonight. Or might not. 😉 It’s on Instant Play. So, we just might.

      • முனிAndy   June 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

        I’ll be busy tracking the debut game of “most-hyped pick in MLB draft history” tonight.


        SearchIndia.com Responds:

        Many years ago a friend explained the game to us but we can’t remember a thing now.

  8. முனிAndy   June 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

    I do not think I will be visiting your blog any more – that comment of yours (seeing a lot of our other …..) really hit a nerve. Add to that your comments which have nothing related to what I said whatsoever. You can delete my registration if you like. You also needn’t publish this comment. Thank you, and wish you good luck.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Your above comment was posted merely to incite a strong response from us that you could then justify to yourself to stop visiting us in lieu of your present effete rationale.

    Try harder, next time. 😉

    2. You write: that comment of yours (seeing a lot of our other …..) really hit a nerve. Add to that your comments which have nothing related to what I said whatsoever

    Ha ha ha , we’ve lost track of the number of your unrelated comments.

    We’ll cite just one example: Surely, whether Kavya’s mom is hot or cold is unrelated to the Spelling Bee. Of course, that gave us a second chance to ogle at the auntie. 😉

    • முனிAndy   June 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm

      Your above comment was posted merely to incite a strong response from us that you could then justify to yourself to stop visiting us in lieu of your present effete rationale.

      uh? I have no intention of stop visiting you.. until your demise.

      How soon has Asha been forgotten!..

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Not sure if she really is not visiting us. We did not delete her account.

  9. chennaiarun2007   June 9, 2010 at 9:15 am


    Hi SI,

    Here is a news about “Incredible India”.



    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Offtopic but kinda related response:

    A new horror movie Human Centipede has been released here recently, where the doctor joins people together (the opposite of what the Bangalore doctors in your link did). 🙁

    • முனிAndy   June 9, 2010 at 10:57 am

      God, what’s with these people.. positng unrelated posts. This thread is for the Dev.D review, you know?

      SearchIndia.com Responds:

      Today, for sure. Juggling too many balls in the air.

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