Who is young Indian American spelling prodigy Dev Shah?

Jun 03, 2023 09:18 AM IST

Young Indian American spelling prodigy Dev Shah crowned Champion at 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

On Thursday, in a spellbinding display of intelligence and linguistic prowess, Dev Shah, an Indian American boy, recently claimed victory in the highly competitive 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Dev Shah, 14, from Largo, Fla., reacts as he wins the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals.(AP)
Dev Shah, 14, from Largo, Fla., reacts as he wins the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals.(AP)

Dev's remarkable journey to a genius Spelling Bee Champion is a testament to his dedication, hard work, and the unwavering support of his family.

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Hailing from Largo, Florida, a family that values education and encourages academic excellence, Dev's passion for words and language blossomed at a young age.

The spelling genius’ parents Deval and Nilam Shah recognized his exceptional talent and nurtured it with enthusiasm. Deval is a Software Engineer who moved to the United States 29 years ago.

The 14-year-old’s journey to spelling glory began at the local level, where he competed against other aspiring young spellers in his community. His stellar performance caught the attention of seasoned spelling bee coaches and organizers, who recognized his exceptional talent. With their guidance, Dev embarked on a rigorous training regimen, honing his spelling skills, expanding his vocabulary, and mastering the intricacies of various languages' spelling patterns.

The accomplished winner of the 95th Scripps National Spelling Bee, shares a special bond with his older brother, Neil Shah, who is currently pursuing his education as a rising junior at Yale University.

Dev is fortunate to have his grandmother, Vinaben Shah, as an important presence in his life.

Beyond his incredible spelling prowess, Dev's life is enriched with a myriad of captivating hobbies that reflect his diverse interests and passions. An avid reader, he immerses himself in books of various genres, particularly historical fiction. He also finds joy in watching historical fiction movies that transport him to different time periods.

It is Dev's affinity for mathematics that truly sets him apart. He not only enjoys learning mathematical concepts but also cherishes the time spent with his friends, engaging in stimulating discussions and problem-solving sessions.

"Psammophile," an unusual term denoting an organism that thrives in sandy soils, became the winning word for a 14-year-old at the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee, as reported by Reuters.

In a thrilling battle of wits, Dev outlasted fellow eighth-grader Charlotte Walsh from Virginia for $50,000 cash, who stumbled on the word "daviely," a Scottish-rooted term for listlessly, in the 14th round.

The Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School goer showcased his linguistic prowess by accurately spelling "bathypitotmeter" in the same round. In accordance with the spelling bee rules, he needed to conquer one more word to secure his victory.

Amidst a shower of confetti, Dev has crowned the champion and celebrated the momentous achievement with his parents and other relatives on stage. Alongside the prestigious title, he received a prize package that included a hefty cash prize from E.W. Scripps Co, the bee's sponsor, as well as additional monetary rewards and reference work from Encyclopedia Britannica and Merriam-Webster.

With an overwhelming sense of joy, Dev's mother, Nilam openly shared her son's emotions, emphasizing the immense effort he had poured into preparing for the spelling bee

In the 2019 edition, the spelling prodigy showcased his talent by trying for the 51st position, and in 2021, he continued to impress by securing a commendable tor for the 76th place.

ALSO READ| Indian-American 14-year-old boy crowned US National Spelling Bee champion

The Florida native was among the 11 finalists, aged 11 to 14, who advanced to this year's competition's final stage after surpassing 220 other contestants during the three-day event held in National Harbor, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C.

This year's field comprised 94 girls, 134 boys, and two spellers who identify as nonbinary, highlighting the diversity and inclusivity of the event.

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