World Teen - Main Article
Signup Teachers & Parents
Tough Words Seal Spelling Bee Win
News Bytes 06/1/2020 44 Comments

In just under two hours on Thursday evening, the upstart SpellPundit Online National Spelling Bee produced a winner. The virtual bee came about to replace the canceled Scripps National Spelling Bee (see Ex-spelled but Not Out of the Game), which would have occurred on the same night.

Siblings and former competitive spellers Shourav and Shobha Dasari hosted the bee in part out of concern for eighth-graders who would lose eligibility after this year due to age.

The winner of Thursday night’s bee was no surprise. Navneeth Murali is a 14-year-old eighth-grader from Edison, New Jersey. He came in with the most extensive spelling résumé of anyone in the competition. In the final round, the field had narrowed to just three. The two other remaining spellers misspelled words back to back before Navneeth’s turn. Victory was his for the taking, and he didn’t miss the opportunity.

His word was “Karoshthi.” It’s an ancient, cursive script of Aramaic origin (one of the languages spoken in Jesus’ time). Navneeth plowed through it quickly and confidently to claim the title.

Host and SpellPundit co-founder 17-year-old Shourav announced the conclusion of the bee to the assembled spellers over Zoom. “So, yeah, you’re the champion of the SpellPundit Online National Spelling Bee,” he said as he cued a pixelated image of confetti falling on his own screen.

The SpellPundit bee concluded on the same night Scripps would have held its grand finale inside a packed convention center ballroom on the Potomac River outside Washington, D.C. This year’s bee was canceled because the coronavirus pandemic made travel difficult and large gatherings unsafe.

Navneeth takes home a bit more than $2,500 in prize money from the online bee. He and other spellers, their parents, and supporters are still trying to convince Scripps to come up with an alternative for this year’s eighth-graders since that competition’s prize money is much larger.

What’s next for Navneeth? “I might pursue something in the competitive science field,” Navneeth says. “My main focus right now is to do well in high school.”

(This screenshot shows spellers in the SpellPundit Online National Spelling Bee participating in semifinals on Tuesday night, May 26, 2020. SpellPundit via AP)

Leave a comment
  • Be respectful of everyone, including other readers as well as individuals in the news stories. Disagree politely.
  • Do not post links to websites outside of WORLDteen.
  • Keep personal information such as full name, age, location, and contact information private.
  • Read your comment before posting to be sure you have typed what you wish to say in public.
Sorry you are not allowed to publish comments. If this is the first time you are seeing this message please log out and back in. If you continue to see this message and believe this to be in error please reach out to member services.

Most recent comments

1st Comment

Wow! That is super cool! I glad that they were able to pull it off! Some of those kids look pretty tense! But then again, i would be too! :) I don't even know how to pronounce "Karoshthi"!!!!!!!! I didn't know that they would use foreign words.

Shotgun Shells

Hey, quick question..... does anyone know what to do with a bunch of used shotgun shells? I have a ton and thought it would be neat to make a sort of craft, or something for decoration or something useful, but I can't come up with anything the we could use or to make with them. If anyone has an idea, let me know! Thanks!

First Comment! (At least I think....)

I'm so glad that they still got the chance to do their spelling bee, even if it was over zoom!

I was kinda expecting an article about George Floyd, and all the rioting.... I'm sure it will come later. Is anyone on here close to the protests and in harms way? If so I would love to pray for you! There was a small, peaceful protest in my city, but I get the feeling that things could escalate quickly.

Adding to my above comment

Lol it turned out to be third comment! Sorry!

Congrats Navneeth!

Congrats Navneeth!

@Bella C

I don't even know who Floyd is, and there are definitely no protests here that I know of (probably in bigger cities) But I will pray too!

@ Riley D.

I have no clue what you would do with used shotgun shells, but I'm really glad you want to make a craft out of them! Maybe check on YouTube or something?

@Riley D

You can actually re-load them if you have the right machine! I can't think of anything besides doing that though.

This is Mylee

I am so glad he won the spelling bee. I am not a good speller,but I love memorizing. I am doing Bible Bee this year,does anyone know what that is? I don’t know what you could do with shotgun shells but I love crafts. Every Tuesday I watch kids and we make crafts,normally ones that match with the Bible story though.


I think I have heard of Bible Bee.. You memorize Bible verses right?
This is Caro


oops I mean Mylee


I LOVE SPELLING!!! I actually got so good at it that my mom said I should just learn another language. ;-D (NOT TO BRAG!!) So now I'm learning Latin.

This is London

Ya the Bible bee u memorize versus like 600 we probably aren’t going to do the competition tho


Are those 8 graders bc some of them don’t look like it

@Bella C

Yes, we have the rioting kind of close to us, actually really close and I'm 1/2 black so I would really appreciate it if you prayed for me.
I don't think we are in harms way though... Thank You!

:) :) :) :)

That's so cool!

@ Bella C

I think there was a peaceful protest in OK City close to us, but I think it was just "peaceful".
Also @Kiara J: I'll pray.

@ Everyone

a lot of things are closing where we live for fear of riots ( @ Kiara R. i'll pray )

@Bella C

We aren't in harm's way but we are pretty close to some of the violent protests.

To above

@Vaughn H: Yeah, I've heard of that, but we don't have the materials. But I have considered it!
@Kiara J: I will definitely pray for you!
@Mylee: Yeah! I have heard of the Bible Bee, and we thought about doing it. Not sure if we are though. We watched a little of the competition though. Good luck! My family memorizes Bible verses anyway, so yeah, but it would be cool!

@London S

Yeah, they mostly look like eight grade or younger except the girl in the middle. She looks more like highschool age.

Praying for everyone near the

Praying for everyone near the protests! XD

Same for me!

Same for me!

@ Everyone

thanks to everyone who's praying for everyone!!!!!!!

Wow. Hi y'all I'm back for

Wow. Hi y'all I'm back for the moment! Has anyone heard if the Natinal Bible Bee?

Aww! I am glad they still got

Aww! I am glad they still got a chance at glory!

@N&M. A

No I haven't! What is it??

Please pray!

We had only one riot in my city. I think they broke the police station windows and stuff like that. I am half black so please pray!!


I just did. And don't be ashamed of your own race.

@ Gracie M

It's well a national bible bee! You can go to w w w . bible bee . org
It starts out as a summer study and you have to memorize bible passages and Hebrew/greek words, bible cross references. Then after the summer study it gose from June To August, Then you can take a looong test to see if you qualify to go to nationals if you score within the top 120mkids in the nation , they send you 800 bible passages to memorize and then in November you go to Kentucky(I think it is) and compete with the top 120 kids in the nation! You can also look it up on youtube.
I am doing it this year. It's been a lot so far, but fun. : D
I will pray for you. These riots are horrible!


We watched the Bible Bee last year! Good luck! Wishing you a win! and yes, it is in Kentucky.

@ Riley

Oh! I was wondering what channel was it on?


Um, not sure exactly. We don't have TV, we just use our TV for movies. We looked it up on the computer and watched it from there. We are doing the Thrive book things from there so get emails. I am not sure if the link was on an email or not. Sorry. :(

@ Riley

Oh, ok.

@Kara N

Salve, amicus latinae!
Quis es nominus tuus?

@Riley D

boy on bottom right looks like yngest, but other wise mostly disagree.

@Kara N

Spellingus est bonus et magnus!!!!
Arithmetica est bona et magna.

@Gracie M

that's horrible(Not that you're black, about the riots)
I just prayed.
^__________________________ _______________________^
6 6

@ Gloriana B

I don't know THAT much Latin...just a little bit.

@ Gracie M

Here's a WORLD teen article on Bible Bee



@Glorianna B

I am learning Latin, but yeah, I don't know that much yet! lol! :) ;)

@Kara N&Riley D

that meant:
Hello, friend of Latin!
What is your name?
Spelling is good and great!
Arithmetic is good and great.
(i made up the arithmetic & spelling words:-))

@Glorianna B

Oh!!! ok!

Check out one of the interesting topics below
Explain IT!

Explain-IT trains you to understand the how’s and why’s of man-made inventions and ideas.

Learn More
Pop Smart

Pop! SMART provides tools that equip teenagers with the kinds of insights they need to wisely navigate today’s popular culture in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Learn More
Pie in the Sky

Everyone daydreams, and as it should be. Good dreams aside, our culture is a natural enemy of serenity and hope. God has equipped you for great things.

Learn More
People Mover

True stories are incredibly powerful. They bring meaning to our lives—communicating the truths we can’t afford to live without.

Learn More
Mud Room

Mud Room helps you relate to the news by exploring the details behind the stories in the headlines that relate to earth sciences.

Learn More
Globe Trek

Globe Trek will take you from the living room sofa to the mountains of Uzbekistan and from the screen of their smart phone to a Chilean plantation.

Learn More
Ka Ching!

ka-Ching! takes a look at important principles of money and economics through relatable examples from everyday life.

Learn More
Law 'N Order

Law ‘N Order captures your imagination through civics, focusing on the idea that everyone can make a difference in life.

Learn More

User login