In its continuing quest for the best speller in the South Asian community, the 2017 South Asian Spelling Bee traveled to Maryland and North Carolina the weekend of June 17-18 with stops in the DC Metro area and Charlotte, following visits to Illinois and Washington June 10 and 11 with stops in Chicago and Seattle.

The Bee again saw a huge turnout and attracted both top talent as well as new spellers.

In the DC Metro Regional, Shaheer Imam, 13, of Catonsville, Maryland, was the regional champ; Aryan Nindra, 8, of Leesburg, Virginia, was the first runner-up; and Aditiya Chezhiyan, 13, of Bristow, Virginia, was second runner-up.

In Charlotte, Sreeniketh Vogoti, 14, from Jacksonville, Florida was named regional champ; Kyu-Carlo Alegre, 12, from Carrollton, Georgia, was first runner-up; and Adrija Rukmini, 10, of Charlotte, North Carolina, was the second runner-up.

In the Chicago Regional, 12-year-old Nilla Rajan of Chillicothe, Ohio, was crowned regional champ; 12-year-old Snehal Choudhury of Massillon, Ohio, was first runner-up, and Jashun Paluru, also 12, of West Lafayette, Ind., was second runner-up.

In Seattle, Cameron Keith, 11, from Longmont, Colo., was the regional champ; nine-year-old Zoe Keith from Longmont, Colo., was first runner-up; and Vithul Ravivarma, 13, of Sammamish, Wash., was second runner-up.

The event is open to children of South Asian descent up to 14 years of age and gives them the 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 10th anniversary this year. Regionals are being held in eight locations across the United States. Along with Chicago and Seattle, regional centers in the Washington, D.C. metro area and Charlotte, other cities include Boston, New Jersey, the San Francisco Bay Area and Dallas. All events are free and open to the public. An international regional was held earlier this year in Accra, Ghana; winners of South Asian descent will qualify for the finals.

“For the past nine 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 tenth 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.

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

This year, the Bee is proudly sponsored by popular roti and paratha brand Kawan and, as always, SONY Entertainment Television Asia is the exclusive broadcast partner for the South Asian Spelling Bee and will air the series across 120 countries.

“Kawan is proud to return as a sponsor and we have tremendous faith in contributing towards crucial family time for the community. We look forward to getting to know the spellers and their families through this wonderful journey," said Tim Tan, Managing Director Kawan Food.

“Year over year, the South Asian Spelling Bee has made for great programing 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 North America, Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.

For a complete schedule, registration and any other information, please visit:

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