Odylic. That was the final word Coppell Middle School student Rohan Raja correctly spelled at the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 30 before he was named one of the eight co-champions of the tournament.
This tournament made history as the first one to last 20 rounds.
“It meant a lot to me. I was really thankful I could be one of the eight winners,” Raja said. “It was really competitive this year, and I was nervous, but I’m extremely proud and happy that I did win.”
Raja was the last contestant out of the eight to spell the final word. He said it was nerve wracking, but once he heard the word he knew he could spell it.
Raja tied for 10th place at last year’s tournament. His interest in spelling began when an elementary school teacher noticed how good he was a spelling words. From there Raja began to compete in local competitions, which he said he did quite well in.
“We’re very happy for Rohan because it was a reward for all the hard work he did in the past few months," Raja’s father said. “It’s very rewarding in that sense. It’s a very proud moment for us. We are delighted he won because I think he deserved it for all the hard work he put in.”
Raja took home a $50,000 prize and trophy of his own as well as some reference books. The prize money will more than likely be used for college expenses, he said.
Flower Mound’s Abhijay Kodali and Dallas’ Sohum Sukhatankar were also among the winners.
The other six co-champions were Rishik Gandhasri (San Jose, California), Erin Howard (Huntsville, Alabama), Saketh Sundar (Clarksville, Maryland), Shruthika Padhy (Cherry Hill, New Jersey), Christopher Serrao (Whitehouse Station, New Jersey).