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South Loop Sixth Grader Advances To National Spelling Bee

A sixth grader from South Loop Elementary is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May to represent Chicago Public Schools. Riya Joshi was crowned the city spelling bee champion after five hours of competition at Lindblom Math and Science Academy in West Englewood on Friday.

“I studied the list they gave us like every week and I studied a few extra words on the side too,” Riya said. “I feel ecstatic.”

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South Loop sixth grader Riya Joshi

South Loop sixth grader Riya Joshi won the citywide spelling bee on Friday. She will represent Chicago Public Schools at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in late May.

Becky Vivea

A sixth grader from South Loop Elementary is headed to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May to represent Chicago Public Schools.

Riya Joshi was crowned the city spelling bee champion after five hours of competition at Lindblom Math and Science Academy in West Englewood on Friday.

“I studied the list they gave us like every week and I studied a few extra words on the side too,” Riya said. “I feel ecstatic.”

Riya correctly spelled the words “attache” and “toxicosis” to take home the top honors.
The other finalist, fifth grader Aaron Chang from Audubon Elementary school, tripped up on the spelling of a Scandinavian word in the 20th round. The word “skerry,” which sounds like “scary,” means an insular rock, reef or rocky isle.

Riya will head to the national competition in Washington, D.C. in late May. But first, she’ll compete in a chemistry bee next Saturday with her twin sister, her mother, Krishna Joshi, said.

Fifty students from fifty grammar schools participated in the citywide spelling bee on Friday. In total,148 schools participated in this year’s competition.

“It really helps students with their vocabulary and just builds up their self confidence,” said Paschel Bennett, the Academic Competitions Coordinator for CPS.

Becky Vevea covers education for WBEZ. Follow her @WBEZEducation.

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