Raju, 11, recently won the 2021 Scripps Regional Spelling Bee and will represent his school and the region at nationals.
This won’t be the first time Raju has held this distinguished title and competed at the national level. In 2019, he placed first in the region out of several hundred participants and went on to compete at the national event in Maryland. While he did not return as a prized champion, he cherished his experience and immediately set his sights on 2020 and beyond. While the 2020 national spelling bee was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Raju will have another chance to compete again this year.
Raju’s interest in languages and his innate spelling ability have helped boost his self confidence and keep him grounded. As a language enthusiast, Raju has a rich treasure trove of words in his vocabulary from a variety of languages, including German, French, Latin, Greek and many of India’s native languages.
Raju’s mother, Sandhya Ayyar, said people are amazed with her son's talent and that he became a natural at spelling very early on. In third grade, Raju participated in his first national spelling bee competition and placed first. His younger brother, Vedanth, follows in his footsteps and competes in spelling bee competitions as well.
"I love learning words in new languages and studying the patterns behind the words," said Raju. "Piecing them together makes it easier to decipher the word roots and language patterns."
The first few rounds of this year’s national spelling bee will be held virtually over the coming weeks, while the final round will be hosted in person at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. The finals, featuring 10-12 accomplished spellers from across the country, will be broadcast live in primetime on ESPN2 on July 8. Raju hopes to make it all the way to the final round and return to Aurora as the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion.
Good luck, Vikram! Aurora Public Schools is rooting for you!