Teen Gets ‘Tonsillitis’ and a Trip to National Bee
Contests Sponsored by UT Dallas Shift to D.C. for Championship Rounds
April 7, 2009
Mouctika Paluri, a 13-year-old girl from Carrollton who aspires to be a physician, is getting a jump on her medical terminology.
Paluri won an all-expenses paid trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., when she correctly spelled “tonsillitis” at the Dallas Morning News 51st Annual Regional Spelling Bee on March 21. A veteran on the spelling bee circuit, she won a 2006 regional bee in Michigan as well as the 2007 Dallas Morning News bee. She placed 25th in the National Spelling Bee last year.
It is her last chance to be the national champion; she and runner-up Adit Vidyashankar have reached the contest’s age limit.
The Dallas County bees were held on the UT Dallas campus earlier this year.
Vidyashankar, a Dallas resident who attends Newton Academy in Coppell, won the Dallas County private schools bee held on February 12 at The University of Texas at Dallas Conference Center. Finishing as runner-up in the regional bee was a personal best for Vidyashankar.
The bee was broadcast live on WFAA-TV (Channel 8). In all, 29 students from North and East Texas competed, with early eliminations on words like “giraffe” and “hyphen.”
The contest came down to two students when Paluri correctly spelled the word “nectarivorous,” which refers to consuming nectar. Vidyashankar took his turn, missing “patronymic,” a name which comes from a father or another paternal relative. Paluri then correctly spelled “tonsillitis,” avoiding another round against Vidyashankar.
Dennis Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, was one of three regional bee judges and awarded the grand prize at the conclusion of the bee.
“I was impressed by the intensity and good sportsmanship of all the contestants,” said Kratz. “I congratulate (and would like to recruit) all of them.”
The 2009 Dallas Morning News Regional Spelling Bee was presented by UT Dallas. Other sponsors included Southwest Airlines and Whataburger.
The National Spelling Bee is scheduled to be broadcast Thursday, May 28, on ESPN beginning at 9 a.m., with finals airing on ABC beginning at 7 p.m., May 26-28. Both times are Central Standard Time; check local listings.
Twenty-nine students participated in the the Dallas Morning News 51st Annual Regional Spelling Bee on March 21.
Lane Travis Tucker