Slow and Steady Wins the Bee for 10-Year-Old
Plano 5th-Grader Takes 1st Place in University-Sponsored Regional Showdown
Apr. 2, 2010
The key to 10-year-old Chetan Reddy’s victory at the Dallas Morning News Regional Spelling Bee can be described as “slow and steady.”
Sticking to a deliberate strategy throughout the contest, Chetan asked for each word’s definition, its country of origin, its part of speech and whether it had any alternate pronunciations. He then asked the bee pronouncer to use the word in a sentence. Only then did he proceed to spell the word.
The fifth-grade boy from Plano correctly spelled concomitance, which means “existence together or in connection with one another,” to win the annual contest and received an all-expense paid trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Chetan got his chance to correctly spell the final word of the bee when runner-up Sutton Travis, a 13-year-old seventh-grader who attends Carthage Junior High in Panola County, incorrectly added a “u” to reflorescent, which means “to come into bloom again.”
The bee was broadcast live on WFAA-TV (Channel 8) on Saturday, March 20. In all, 27 students from North and East Texas competed, with early eliminations occurring on words like rapport and hollandaise.
“To reach this level of spelling competition requires not only intelligence, but also focused and sustained study,” said Kratz. “Everyone who competed is already a champion in my view.
“I have to admit a sense of special pride because the winner’s parents are UT Dallas alumni – and Chetan says he wants to attend their alma mater.”
Chetan’s parents, Vijay Reddy (MSEE ’92) and Geetha Manku (MS ’94), bring him to campus to watch chess games, another of Chetan’s interests.
“He loves chess and is fascinated by the skill of UT Dallas chess team,” said Vijay Reddy.
The 2010 Dallas Morning News Regional Spelling Bee was presented by UT Dallas. Whataburger and the North Dallas Honey Company also were sponsors.
The National Spelling Bee is scheduled to be broadcast Friday, June 4; semi-finals will air on ESPN beginning at 9 a.m. The final rounds of the bee will be broadcast the same day beginning at 7 p.m. on ABC.
To prepare for the national bee, Chetan studies the contest word lists for one to two hours every day and three to four hours on weekends. He’s focused on the etymology and roots of words.
“He’s quite excited,” said Vijay Reddy. “His dream is to have a chance to go to the nationals. At the same time, he’s a calm and composed kid.
“There’s tough competition out there – anything can happen.”
52nd Regional Bee
Twenty-seven students participated in the Dallas Morning News 52nd Annual Regional Spelling Bee on March 20.
Maria Zdenka Chroneos