West Lafayette regional spelling bee winner reacts to canceled competition

West Lafayette Intermediate sixth-grader Shayari Shanti won't be competing in this year's National Spelling Bee but she's using this time to prepare for next year.

Posted: May 10, 2020 6:49 PM
Updated: May 10, 2020 6:58 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Hundreds of students are missing out on what would have been the 93rd annual Scripps National Spelling Bee this month. West Lafayette Intermediate sixth-grader Shayari Shanti is one of those students. She won the Scripps Regional Spelling Bee held at Faith Christian School in March.

"On that day, it was very exciting," said Shanti. "I won the regional spelling bee and was very excited about going to Washington D.C. for the national."

Unfortunately, like many, Shanti's plans were cut short due to COVID-19. The Scripps National Spelling Bee has originally postponed but due to the uncertainty of the virus, the organization decided to cancel it this year.

"I was, I think I was pretty angry because I thought it would make more sense to postpone, but then they couldn't really predict when it would be reasonable to postpone so I got over it more quickly than I thought I would," said Shanti.

She has been preparing for months. The Scripps National Spelling Bee brings together more than 500 students, which is something Shanti was most looking forward to.

"I just kind of wanted to go somewhere where everyone had the same interests as me, people who just kind of share my passion for spelling," said Shanti.

Although she can't compete this year, re-earning her regional title to be eligible for next year's competition is now at fore-front.

"I really want to go to the nationals at least once, because as soon as I learned that there was a thing called a 'spelling bee,' I really, really wanted to go to the nationals," said Shanti.

She's deciding to look at this extra time on her hands as a positive thing.

"Since I was preparing to go to the nationals this time, I think I'll have a better idea of how to prepare for next year, and I think no time better than the present to start," said Shanti. "I'm just going to try to make it as far and hopefully farther next year."

Shanti will be starting 7th grade at West Lafayette Junior/Senior High school in the fall. The age limit for the Scripps National Spelling Bee caps at 8th grade.

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