Quinquagenarian, a word that even adults may not be able to pronounce or spell with ease, was the winning word for 14-year-old Malavika Deepak at the seventh season of the Classmate Spell Bee.
Malavika, from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Ottapalam, Palakkad, Kerala, was declared as national champion of India's largest spelling competition. The competition was conducted across India and engaged with more than 275,000 students across 800 schools in 30 cities by testing their mettle in English spellings. This year it was themed `Every child is unique and so is every word'.
“I spent the last few weeks looking up online for new words and their meanings.For most words, I would try to break them and spell,” said Malavika.
An initiative by Radio Mirchi, the initial phase of the competition was an intense on-ground exercise in schools. Next, the top 15 spellers from each school competed in the online city finals round. After a city-level competition, the top 16 students from across the country fought it out in the national finals, which will be telecast on The Discovery Channel, Discovery Kids and Discovery Tamil pan India.
Hosted by actor Soha Ali Khan, the finals saw a nailbiting finish between Malavika and Mukund Choudhary of Krishna Public School, Raipur, who emerged as the first runner-up at the contest.
“It is so inspiring to be among such young, bright minds. Today, when the young are getting hooked on to SMS lingo, it is great to see them care about spellings,” said Khan, who considers herself particular about English.“There have been times when I have interrupted my friends in the middle of a conversation and argument to correct a pronunciation, grammar or spellings,” she said.