Sterling Eighth Grader Advances to National Spelling Bee

Sterling Eighth Grader Advances to National Spelling Bee
2017 Regional Spelling Bee Champion Rishubh Kaushal, 13, and Runner-Up Anoushka Upadhye, 13, pose for a picture after the 32-round spelling bee. Photo/Wayde Byard, LCPS.

After one of the longest spelling bees in local history, 13-year-old Rishubh Kaushal of Seneca Ridge Middle School became the 35th Loudoun County Regional Spelling Bee Champion.

Kaushal and the runner up, fellow 13-year-old Anoushka Upadhye of Stone Hill Middle School, went head to head for more than 20 rounds. Finally, Kaushal won with the French word “staffage”, meaning “accessory items in a painting, especially figures or animals in a landscape picture.”

He will go on to represent Loudoun in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May in Washington, DC.

Along with challanges from the words, the contestants had to overcome fatigue. By the competition’s 19th round, judge Beth Robinson, principal of Harper Park Middle School, remarked that it was past the speller’s bedtime.  It was past 11 p.m. when Kaushal went on to the final championship round after correctly spelling “chopine”.

The five-hour-long competition began with 75 spellers from middle and elementary schools across the county. Spellers faced words of German, Dutch, Hindu, French, Sanskrit, Russian, Japanese, English, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and Afrikaans origins.