In its continuing quest for the best speller in the Indian American and larger South Asian community, the 2018 South Asian Spelling Bee traveled to Illinois, California, Maryland, and North Carolina on the weekend of June 16-17, with stops in Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and Charlotte, North Carolina.

With a huge turnout this year, the contest attracted both top talent as well as young and new spellers who competed for the coveted prizes and titles.

In the SF Bay Area Regional, Rishik Gandhsri, 12, of San Jose, Calif., was the regional winner and Vayun Krishna, 11, of Sunnyvale, was the second runner-up.

In the Chicago Regional, Snehal Choudhury, 13, of Massillon, Ohio, emerged the regional champion and Maya Jadhav, 9, of Fitchburg, Wisconsin, was the first runner-up.

In Washington, D.C., Christopher Serrao, 12, of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, was crowned regional champ while Srivarun Hathwar, 12, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was declared the first runner-up.

In Charlotte, Vishal Madhudi, 14, of Painted Post, New York was named regional champ and 13-year-old Kyu-Carlo Alegre of Carrollton, Georgia, was declared the first runner-up.

The event is open to children of South Asian descent up to 14 years of age and aims to give these children a chance to test their spelling skills in their core peer group. Interested spellers need their parent or guardian to register them online at

Organized by Touchdown Media Inc., the South Asian Spelling Bee is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year, with regionals being held in six locations across the U.S. Regional centers for this season include New Jersey, and Dallas, Texas. An international regional was conducted earlier this year in Accra, Ghana, from where spellers of South Asian descent will qualify for the finals.

All events are free and open to the public.

“For the past ten years, the Bee has consistently provided a firm platform for the community to come together and hone their craft. It’s become a family activity that contributes towards the overall development of the child. We are proud to enter our eleventh consecutive year and look forward to engaging some of these wonderful spellers,” said Rahul Walia, founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee and CEO of Touchdown Media Inc.

Within the past year, the South Asian Spelling Bee has been featured in the documentary, “Breaking the Bee,” and on VICE News, which followed the journey of South Asian Spelling Bee spellers and the importance of the South Asian Spelling Bee platform being a vital step in their spelling journey.

The top two spellers of each regional competition will advance to the finals, which will be held in August in New Jersey. The winner will receive $3,000.

This year, the contest is powered by roti and paratha brand Kawan, and Sony Pictures Networks is the exclusive broadcast partner for the contest, which will be aired on the network across 120 countries.

“Year over year, the South Asian Spelling Bee has made for great programming that gels with our ethos of compete family entertainment. We are all about family values and encourage platforms such as these that highlight the talent of our community,” said Jaideep Janakiram, head of Americas, Sony Pictures Networks.

For more information, and registration, visit

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