Bentonville girl, 11, wins state spelling title


Photographs by Democrat-Gazette file photo

Last year’s Arkansas State Spelling Bee winner, Pavani Chittemsetty, celebrates after correctly spelling “brigadier” to clinch the win.

BENTONVILLE -- A girl has reclaimed her title as Arkansas' top speller.

Pavani Chittemsetty, a sixth-grader at Northwest Arkansas Classical Academy, won the Arkansas State Spelling Bee in Conway on Saturday, topping 54 other students from across the state. She advances to the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee, to be held May 29-31 in National Harbor, Md.

Pavani, 11, won Saturday's competition by correctly spelling "laterigrade," which means "running sideways, or characterized by such running," according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Jonah Patton of Pope County finished second and Dasha Blalock of Craighead County finished third.

Pavani also won the state spelling bee in 2016. She lasted three rounds before being eliminated in her subsequent trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Pavani has won the Benton County Spelling Bee four straight years.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee winner receives $40,000 and an engraved trophy, as well as a trip to New York City to appear on the talk show Live with Kelly & Ryan. No Arkansan has won the bee since Justin Tyler Carroll of Wynne did it in 1995.

NW News on 03/13/2018

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