MEET SPELLERS L-Z
NOTE: ALL spellers' parents must complete a release form to participate in our spelling bee due to the "live" online nature of the bee. Some spellers are not shown.
Lucas Hernacki | 6th Grade | Cary, IL
Lucas first observed a spelling bee while in kindergarten. He was immediately interested and said he wanted to try it. He is the only 2nd grader to ever win that same bee a couple of years later. He attends Quest Academy in Palatine, IL, a gifted school for Kindergarten through 8th graders.
Lucas went on to the district bee where he was in the top five. Every year since, he has been in the top five at his school bee. Lucas has a goal of making it to the National Spelling Bee.
Lucas was recently accepted into the Davidson Academy's Young Scholars program. Excellent at math, with a love of learning, Lucas also has an incredible sense of humor! For fun, he likes to watch old sitcoms like "Cheers" and "The Office." He even likes to write his own screenplays too. He wishes he could go back to school as it was before this virus hit.
Maya Jadhav | 6th Grade | Fitchburg, WI
In 2020, Maya Jean won the Wisconsin State Spelling Bee for the second year in a row. She first won her school spelling bee in 2017 as a third grader and this year she won her school bee for the fourth consecutive time. She participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2018 and 2019, qualifying for the semi-finals in 2019. She also qualified for the Nationals this year.
In 2020, Maya Jean also won the School Geography Bee and after an online test qualified for the State Geography Bee which was canceled due to COVID. In MOEMS (Math Olympiad for Elementary and Middle Schools), at her grade level Maya Jean has been the recipient for the highest individual score trophy for three years running in her school. She received the Gold Pin (top 2% nationally) in 2020 and 2019. In 2020, she also received the One Less Than Perfect award for a score of 24 out of 25.
Maya Jean likes to travel, read books as well as play the piano and oboe. She aspires to do her undergraduate study at Stanford University and would like to become a pediatrician.
Michael Kolagani | 7th Grade | Austin, TX
Michael has participated in spelling bees since the first grade. He won his class spelling bee in second grade and qualified for his district bee in the state of Ohio and achieved the rank of second place. In the second grade, Michael won his class spelling bee and placed third in his school spelling bee. In the third grade, he won his class and school spelling bee. Michael went on to attain second place in his district spelling bee. He then went on to represent Austin in the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee and misspelled his word in the second round. In the fourth grade, Michael won his class bee and tied for second place in his school bee. In the fifth grade, Michael won his school spelling bee and tied for 17th place at his district spelling bee. He was selected for the Scripps National Spelling Bee through the RSVBee Program and got to the third round. He tied for fifty-first place. In December 2019, Michael participated in the Senior WishWin Spelling Bee and won the bee with the word "coruscate." In the sixth grade, Michael won his class bee and also won his school bee, but couldn't attend his district bee to the Covid-19 pandemic. Michael's goal is to someday win the National Spelling Bee. Michael enjoys learning French, as it helps him with his spelling bee preparation. He also plays the flute and plays tennis. His favorite food is Chicken Philly Steak, which he first ate in Atlanta. His favorite subject in school is English, and his favorite teachers were his English teacher and his Math teacher. He has visited 16 states including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Washington D.C.
"My dream is to one day meet Michael Phelps, and Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer. I have participated in many community service events as well. I raise money for my school band through the fundraisers they give us, and I have served at the Austin 5K run in 2019 and 2020 as well, by handing out water to all the runners. I (also) received the Rattler of the Year award, which is an award given to four students in each grade who are kind and gentle towards others."
Nguyet-Vien Le ("Vien") | 8th Grade | Albany, NY
"I participated in my first spelling bee when I was in 4th grade at Veeder Elementary School and won with the word ‘purchase.’ That was really what sparked my interest in spelling bees, and my participation in my middle school bees only made me appreciate them more. I’ve participated in the Lisha Kill Middle School Spelling Bee three times and have won twice, in 2019 and 2020. Because of those victories, I was also able to participate in the Capital Region Spelling Bee for both of those years. In 2019, I came in 20th place after passing the tests and making it through the first few oral rounds. This year, I came in second place, getting out on the word ‘laureate.’ Spelling bees are one of my favorite parts of middle school mainly because of the camaraderie you build with your fellow spellers along with learning new words that can be used in other areas of life.
I have just finished seventh grade at Lisha Kill Middle School in South Colonie, which is in New York. Some of my hobbies include music and writing. I’ve played piano for almost ten years and have participated in a few festivals. I also play piano for my school’s jazz band. In addition, I started playing violin near the end of third grade, making this my fourth year playing. I play violin for my school orchestra, our chamber ensemble, and Empire State Youth Orchestra. Writing has been one of my favorite pastimes for a while. Currently, I’m working on a fantasy novel that I hope to publish, or at the very least, share with others. I usually write in the fantasy genre, but also enjoy writing realistic fiction, domestic fiction, and historical fiction. One other thing I love to do is spend time outside with my family."
Nimal Murugan | 5th Grade | Cumming, GA
Nimal has competed in the North South Foundation (NSF) national spelling bee. He has participated and ranked fourth place in the Georgia regional spelling bee. He also ranked fourth in the South Asian Spelling Bee (SASB) regional spelling bee. He has also competed in a few online spelling bees. Nimal loves to go biking with his friends. His favorite word is "chutzpah." He likes to play video games in his free time and has an avid interest in reading and is a talented piano player. Nimal loves to construct things with Legos and his favorite food is chicken pasta and crabcakes from his favorite restaurant.
Nitya Kathiravan | 6th Grade | Somerset, NJ
Nousheen Abdolmohamadi | 3rd Grade | Redding, CA
Nousheen enjoys sports, travel, movies, and learning new languages.
"My name is Nousheen. I live in Redding, California. I like to play basketball, soccer, and cross country. I like to play with my friends, my family, and also enjoy watching movies. One of my favorite Movies is ‘Sing’. My family and I have traveled to different parts of the world, but in my opinion South Korea is the best. I am a beginner in Spanish lessons, and I am average in the Farsi language."
Preston Moody| 6th Grade | Tomball, TX
Preston is a true bibliophile and won second place in his school-wide spelling bee in 4th grade. It is a rare moment when he doesn't have a book in his hands or on his mind. He is also a lovely singer, enjoys learning math and robotics, wants to be fluent in Spanish someday, and enjoys building with Legos (when books aren't available). Preston is just beginning a life of learning and accomplishment!
Preston Pham | 2nd Grade | Garland, TX
Preston excels at typing, math on IXL, piano, and is on the swimming team. He also actively participates in a library reading program. He is especially talented in basketball and soccer and his hobby is taking care of chickens. His favorite subjects are reading and science and his favorite foods are barbecue and noodles. Preston enjoys going outside and riding around on his bike. His aspiration is to become a lawyer. In his free time, he loves to watch TV.
Rachel Johnson | 8th Grade | Summerfield, NC
Rachel competed in her regional bee in NC, in 2018, and placed 11th. She would have competed in the 2020 regional bee, but it was cancelled after multiple attempts to reschedule. She also won four district bees. Rachel loves reading, cooking, and American Heritage Girls. Her favorite school subjects are science, history, writing, math, and agriculture classes.
"My favorite activity outside of school is riding horses. I love the challenge of working with the horse, learning new skills, and then getting the horse to follow my aids. I like spelling because you get to learn new words and discover patterns."
Rananjay Parmar | 3rd Grade | Rochester, MN
Rananjay loves STEM subjects and reading. He also enjoys playing squash and tennis, and loves communicating with friends and people. He has participated in Math, Science and Spelling competitions since 1st grade and has participated in the North South Foundation (NSF) Spelling Bee. After winning the NSF Regionals, he placed 46th in the national competition. Rananjay also loves sci-fi books and movies. He attends Gibbs Elementary and loves visiting India. He hopes to learn new words by participating in this competition.
Reese Williams | 7th Grade | Houston, TX
Reese enjoys musical theater, reading, and tennis. Her favorite subjects in school are English and World Cultures. She likes spending time with her family in the outdoors, especially snow skiing and rock climbing in Utah, and she loves animals of all kinds. Reese has been in several shows at school and a local theater company and dreams of performing on Broadway one day!
Reese competed in her elementary school’s spelling bee for 3 years. She won the school bee in 5th grade and competed in the district bee.
Revant "Rev" Jear | 4th Grade | Piscataway, NJ
Revant loves reading books and reads books daily and at bedtime. His favorites include Harry Potter and autobiographies and he enjoys a wide variety of other genres. His favorite subjects are geography and science and he was the Class Champion of the National Geo Bee for 2020. Rev loves building legos and eating pizza and brownies. His advice or words of inspiration for others would be, "Keep trying till you achieve the goal."
Rina Olsen | 7th Grade | Tamuning, GU
Rina has been competing in spelling bees since the third grade, and has won the School Spelling Bee each year for the last five years. Rina won the Guam Regional Spelling Bee in both 2019 and 2020; and tied for 51st place in the National Spelling Bee in 2019. She was not able to compete at the National Spelling Bee in 2020 due to the pandemic and was sponsored by the Pacific Daily News.
"I enjoy words, so my hobbies are reading and writing. I also enjoy playing the piano. I speak English and fluent Japanese. One of my goals is to become a National Geographic journalist so I can combine traveling and writing. Another goal of mine is to write fiction. As far as school subjects go, I like history the best. My favorite food is spaghetti."
Riya Koya | 7th Grade | Carmel, IN
Riya attended NASCC and placed 2nd in her division. She went to the Regional South Asian Spelling Bee and placed tenth, and in the 2019 Scripps Bee, she placed 51st.
"My love for words came from being an avid reader. I enjoy working with others, and I am on my school varsity tennis team and SpellBowl team. I am a beginner cellist in my school orchestra. One day I want to have a dog (or two), and be able to speak fluently in Spanish and French. In my free time, I like to play badminton and chess."
Ryan Pham | 8th Grade | Gilbert, AZ
Ryan participated in fours years of school level bees taking 1st place the last three years. He went to the District level bee three times advancing to the Regional bee last year. Ryan always writes out the words he is studying to help visualize the word. He also makes notes on the meaning and origin.
Ryan plays the piano and he also loves playing Fortnight. In his spare time, Ryan will sit draw for hours. His favorite foods are pizza, pasta, cheeseburgers and chicken fingers. He also spends time playing ball with his dog Joji. Recently, he has been watching all the Star Wars shows on the Disney Channel.
Saharsh Vuppala | 6th Grade | Bellevue, WA
Saharsh loves to read and he loves Rick Riordan's books, as well as Harry Potter and Keeper of the Lost Cities. Apart from reading, he plays badminton, and volleyball. He aspires to be an author. He is really interested in chemistry and coding. His favorite word is “arfvedsonite” because he thinks it is interesting that the r and f are not pronounced.
Saharsh’s spelling achievements include:
- 2nd place in NSF Senior Nationals 2019
Samuel Evans ("Sam") | 6th Grade | Wellington, FL
Sam's experience in spelling is diverse and includes the following achievements:
- 13th Place at Mission Online Spelling Bee in 2020
Sam excels at competition by being a Scrabble enthusiast, the leading scorer on his basketball team, and a 3-time winner of gaming tournaments with his friends. He also enjoys playing golf, as well as being the question master of many rounds of trivia. Sam is an avid fan of "The Amazing Race" and he hopes to run it one day.
Shaanvi Mahesh | 7th Grade | Santa Clara, CA
Shaanvi finished 4th place in the junior category at Spandana Spelling Bee in 2019. She also participated in the Santa Clara county spelling bee in Mar 2020 and finished 3rd.
Shaanvi's hobbies include reading and drawing and at the same time enjoying time with her family and friends. Her favorite foods are pasta and pizza, her favorite words include "reputation" and "plenipotent." She mostly enjoys Social Studies in school because it fascinates her to learn about the past. Some things she likes doing for fun include biking, taking a walk, or going hiking. Ever since she was little she has enjoyed helping others so her dream/aspiration is to become a doctor when she grows up.
Shijay Sivakumar | 6th Grade | Odesssa, TX
"I have been spelling for about three years and competed in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling bee. I have also competed in many other competitions such as the North South Foundation Spelling Bee and the WishWin Senior Spelling bee. For fun I like to play the piano and play outside. I have always wanted to win The Scripps National Spelling Bee and I like to learn about words. My favorite language to study when preparing for the Spelling Bee is German."
Shireen Abdolmohammadi | 6th Grade | Redding, CA
Shireen is a former National Spelling Bee competitor and has achieved the following placements in spelling bees.
- 2nd place, Grant school, 2018
"I like to play association football, read books on chemistry and physics, learn different languages, read Harry Potter books and Sherlock Holmes adventures, and watch movies. Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, I traveled with my family to different parts of the world. The most exquisite country that I have ever visited was England."
Shradha Rachamreddy | 4th Grade | San Jose, CA
"I have won my school spelling bee in 3rd and 4th grade. I practice Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam and love to solve jigsaw puzzles.My hobbies are reading books and swimming. My favorite food is mac and cheese. My favorite subjects at school are computers and history. I love to travel and explore museums.''
Sirjana Kaur | 6th Grade | Redmond, WA
“My name is Sirjana and I have been spelling for 4 years. My favorite word is philhellenism, meaning a love of Greece. This was the championship word of the first school bee I won, but is also appropriate because I love Greek mythology. I have always loved to read, and my favorite book is Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. Aside from spelling, I enjoy singing, dancing, and gymnastics.”
Sirjan’s spelling achievements include:
Siyonamithra Kandala ("Siyona") | 3rd Grade | San Antonio, TX
Siyona enjoys reading books and loves to write. She got introduced to spelling bee competition during kindergarten and placed 4th at NSF Regional level competition. She was well received and recognized by local organizers and fellow contestants at the junior level. She got motivated to do more of these challenges and started to be more interested in words and meanings. After a few subsequent wins and some losses later, it made her realize to set smaller goals to achieve bigger things. Besides spelling, Siyona loves music and enjoys learning classical music. In her free time she loves to play chess with her dad and her fun time includes quizzing her parents with new words and reading books to her younger sister. Siyona loves to follow “the 7 Habits of Happy Kids” that she is learning and was chosen to be one of three leaders from her grade at school. Her favorite habit is “Begin With The End In Mind” that helps to enforce her belief to plan ahead and set realistic goals to achieve success.
Srikar Bandreddy | 4th Grade | Austin, TX
Srikar won his school's spelling bee when he was in third grade in January 2020. He then qualified for Austin Regional spelling bee 2020 by taking the Scripps spelling bee online test (Austin Regionals were called off due to COVID-19). Srikar also participated in North South Foundation's national spelling bee at Maryland. Srikar has been sponsored by the West Austin Chamber of Commerce.
Srikar loves alphabets. He started reading at the age of three and has excellent decoding skills. By age five he was able to read high grade level books. He likes solving puzzles, playing with legos, researching about all sorts of animals, how things work etc. He is passionate about healthy food and would like to become dietician. His favorite word is "Porpoise." He also enjoys swimming and riding his bike in his free time.
Srinidhi Rao | 4th Grade | Hinsdale, IL
Srinidhi has been competing in spelling bees since she was in the 2nd grade. She won the school spelling bee as a 2nd grader and then placed 9th in the district. As a 3rd grader in 2019, she won the school spelling bee in Florida and then moved in the middle of the year to Hinsdale and again won the school spelling bee in Illinois. She was placed 2nd in the district and the regional bees. She has also competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2019 and tied for 51st place. Srinidhi was placed 2nd in the North-South Foundation National Junior Spelling Bee in 2019. She was placed 7th in Spellgenius National spelling bee 2020. She has placed 2nd in the NorthSouth Foundation-AAPI 2020 Spelling Bee. Srinidhi wants to be a doctor when she grows up and loves learning medical terminologies. Her favorite word is 'otorhinolaryngology'. Srinidhi has been doing Indian classical music and dance since age 4. She has even won the Florida Reflections PTA awards in Music, Dance, Literature and Photography. She also performs in Indian Classical music concerts and trains very seriously. She does taekwondo, art, and reading. Srinidhi speaks three languages and loves traveling and cruising. She loves mild Indian cuisine, especially from South India.
Starlesli Orji | 6th Grade | Marietta, GA
Starleslie has participated in spelling bees since 5th grade and has improved annually by studying words, and also by focusing on etymologies and definitions. She has also participated in two county spelling bees.
My favorite word is habeascorpusadfaciendumetrecipiendum. For fun I like to read books while enjoying a dessert or a snack. Or, I ride my bike and play badminton. My favorite subject is reading."
Surya Kapu | 5th Grade | South Jordan, UT
Surya has a black belt in Taekwando and he won the school Geography Bee in 2020. His favorite subjects are Science, Geography, History. He likes to play chess, Ttnnis. His favorite foods are noodles, pizza, chicken biryani. He likes to read books including the Harry Potter series and books by Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson, and Jeff Kinney.
Swayam Rath | 8th Grade | Lewisville, TX
Swayam has won his school bee three times since 5th grade, the Hebron Feeder bee twice, the Lewisville ISD District Bee once, the Denton County Bee twice, and has made it to the Dallas Regional Spelling Bee twice--once being a finalist.
"Apart from spelling, there are multiple things that I enjoy doing. Sports are a huge part of my life and my favorite football and basketball teams are the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Lakers, respectively. In addition, I love music, as I sing and play the guitar. In school, my favorite subjects are math and science, although history and ELAR aren’t far behind."
Tanvi Rakesh | 7th Grade | Florence, KY
“Happiness is the key to success."
Tanvi has been competing in Spelling Bees ever since she was in 1st grade and has consistently been the School Spelling Bee Champion from 1st to 7th grade. She has competed in the Regional Spelling Bee from 2nd to 6th grade and has been the Regional Spelling Bee Champion for two years in her 4th and 5th grade year. These victories have taken her to Washington DC where she competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She tied for 189th place in the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee and tied for 42nd place in the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Tanvi enjoys reading and music. She plays the piano, violin, and sings in her school and community choir. She enjoys several sports for fun and plays volleyball, soccer, tennis and swimming. She is a part of her school academic team as well as the speech and debate team. Tanvi has started a nonprofit organization called "The Giving Tree" to support the education of underprivileged children and is actively involved in fundraisers to support this cause. Tanvi aspires to be a neurosurgeon when she grows up and her favorite subjects are ELA and Science. Some of her hobbies include bullet journaling and baking. She loves to travel and enjoys savoring the food and culture of the places she visits. Tanvi has also participated in the 2019 NSF National Spelling Bee and was a semifinalist in the 2020 Online Spellpundit Spelling Bee.
Tarini Nandakumar | 4th Grade | Round Rock, TX
Some of her successes include the following:
- Austin Scripps regional spelling bee - 4th place
She loves to listen to music and she also likes to read. She also enjoys spending time with her dog Simba at home. Her favorite food is pizza and pasta.
Tejas Katira | 7th Grade | Hoffman Estates, IL
“Never give up, do your best, and persevere!"
Tejas has participated in his school spelling bee for three years, He won his school spelling bee and was regional Kane County finalist in 2020. He also participated in North South Foundation (NSF) spelling bees and the Spell Pundit spelling bee.
He wants to become a computer engineer when he grows up! He dreams of winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee and he loves to watch movies with his brother, play chess and reads books of different genres. His favorite genre is fantasy. He has participated and represented his school in the Battle of Books for three years. He loves to play the violin in his free time. He likes to follow baseball and football sports and is a Bears and Cubs fan.
Teresa Cherian | 8th Grade | Ellicott City, MD
“Always be persistent and give your best effort."
Teresa loves to play the violin and enjoys readIng during her free time. She enjoys traveling around the world with her family, and has traveled to over 16 countries. She also loves to draw and has won many art and writing contests. Her favorite subjects in school are Science and French. Her hobbies are reading, cooking and drawing. Teresa participated and won school spelling bees since the 3rd grade. She also participated in 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Triyatha Jammula | 8th Grade | Austin, TX
“Don't give up just because it's tough."
Triyatha tied for 3rd place in 2018 Austin Regional Spelling bee and tied for 51st at the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. She also won her school spelling bee three times.
Triyatha loves swimming, and plays volleyball, basketball. She is also very good at baking cakes and sweets and goes biking around the neighborhood in her free time. She loves learning new languages and is currently taking German at school. Her favorite word is agneaux because it's French and is spelled really cool. She want's to become a doctor, specifically an anesthesiologist.
Vayun Krishna | 7th Grade | Sunnyvale, CA
Vayun competed at the 2019 National Spelling Bee, and the following list includes some of his achievements:
- North South Foundation
"I've been spelling since 1st grade. I'm a state finalist for National Geography Bee in 2019. I enjoy building lego, and playing football and basketball. My favorite food is mac n cheese, my favorite celebrities are Emma Watson and Steph Curry, my favorite school subject is history, and my favorite word is Llullaillaco. I aspire to become a lawyer or a Pixar animator. I also do mock draft simulations for NFL and NBA teams."
Yash Shelar | 6th Grade | St. Charles, MO
Zaila Avant-garde ("Zaila") | 7th Grade | Harvey, LA
Zaila was the 2019 New Orleans Regional spelling bee champion (her 2020 regional bee was canceled due to COVID-19). She was also 2019 SNSB participant and a 2020 SpellPundit Bee semifinalist.
Zaila is a Guinness World Records title holder. She has performed with the Harlem Globetrotters at one of their shows. A couple of years ago, she was featured prominently in a Stephen Curry shoe commercial. She hopes to become an archaeologist one day. She also hopes to become a WNBA player! She loves spelling.