A Double Win: State NatGeo Bee & CBS Bay Area Spelling Bee

Delphi Academy of Campbell 6th grade student Dhruv Kannan competed against the Bay Area’s top spellers at the oral round of the CBS Bay Area Local spelling bee this weekend and will be competing later this month at the National State Geographic State Bee to advance to the championship round for a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship.

Dhruv Kannan

Kannan, 11 years old, qualified for the CBS Bay Area Local spelling bee after winning first place at the school-wide spelling bee where he competed against about 60 students from 4th -8th grade.

“We did nothing to help him prepare, in fact we didn’t even know that such a competition was being organized in the school until he told us after winning,” said Kannan’s mother Shubha Swaminathan.

Kannan credits his success to his avid reading which he said is one of his favorite past times.

“Preferably a long book about history,” specifically modern history, 1900’s onward said Kannan.

Kannan also enjoys reading fiction and about geography.

“He has been a bookworm ever since he learned to read, and that’s now paying dividends,” said Swaminathan.

Kannan said his favorite part about participating in the spelling bee is getting to learn more words and when he gets words correct. He said the most challenging aspect of the spelling bee was learning words that had different pronunciations. To combat this he studied different languages focusing on French, Arabic, Latin, Greek and German.

Kannan’s father Karthik Kannan said it was a family effort preparing Dhruv for the Bay Area local spelling bee with himself, his wife, and Dhruv’s grandparents all contributing. Practice for Dhruv included looking up words on Merriam Webster, playing online spelling games, and learning different word groups and patterns. Dhruv practiced for the bee about 30 minutes per day during the week and up to an hour and a half on weekends.

Kannans’s teacher Manpreet Bedi also helped him to prepare for the bee. Bedi said they focus on spelling in the classroom once or twice a week. Exercises include spelling dictation and having students incorporate words they didn’t know in their readings into their writing. In addition, Bedi gave Kannan 10-15 minutes per day to go over spelling, spelling worksheets and outside-of- class reading material.

“He never hesitates to ask for help; he is very willing and determined to learn,” said Bedi of Kannan.

Kannan took home 49th place at the CBS Bay Area Local spelling bee.

With the CBS Local spelling bee behind him Kannan will be focusing primarily on competing at the state level of the National Geographic Bee Competition at the end of the month. School bees were held throughout the state for 4th -8th graders to determine each school champion. School champions then took a qualifying test which was submitted to the National Geographic society. Up to 100 of the top-scoring students from each state were invited to compete in the state level bee. One winner from each state will advance to the championship round at National Geographic’s Washington D.C . headquarters in May for a shot at a 50,000 college scholarship among other prizes.

Kannan is part of the Geography club at his school which Bedi helps run. Bedi said the club meets about twice a month to talk about geography and the students are given materials such as an atlas to learn. Bedi said Kannan continues to remain a model student and is eager to learn despite winning both the school-wide spelling and geography bees.

“He has no ego. He doesn’t have the attitude I’m perfect or I’m done learning.”

Delphi Academy congratulates Dhruv on his excellent performance in two categories!

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