Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

13-Year-old Indian-American Wins National Spelling Bee With Yiddish Word

Avrind Mahankali takes home First Prize thanks to a “knaidel”

By: David Shear

Published: May 31st, 2013 in News » World

A 13-year-old Indian-American youngster who had finished third in his previous two Scripps National Spelling Bee, finally brought home the big prize after correctly spelling the Yiddish word, “knaidel”.

Arvind Mahankali, who hails from Bayside Hills, New York and hope to one day be a physicist, was finally vindicated by winning the competition with the German-derived Yiddish word after losing the last two contests by misspelling words with German origins.

“I thought that the German curse had turned into a German blessing,” Mahankai told CNN, when asked about the word “knaidel”, a type of dumpling.

“It means that I am retiring on a good note,” said Mahankali, who won the competition in this, his final year of eligibility. “I shall spend the summer, maybe the entire day, studying physics.”

Thanks to his victory, Mahankali receives $32,500 in cash and savings bonds, a trophy and a library of reference materials.

Eleven million schoolchildren took part in preliminaries leading up to this week’s national contest with 281 children making the trip to Oxon Hill, Maryland, near Washington, for the national bee. Eleven spellers made it through to the finals.

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