2016 South Asian Spelling Bee winners

Atlanta Winner (Left to Right): Rahul Walia, founder of The MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee, Sreeniketh Vogoti, regional champion, Navya Murugesan, first runner-up, and Pavani Chittemsetty, second runner-up

Atlanta Winner (Left to Right): Rahul Walia, founder of The MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee, Sreeniketh Vogoti, regional champion, Navya Murugesan, first runner-up, and Pavani Chittemsetty, second runner-up

ATLANTA: The South Asian Spelling Bee, now sponsored by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company with its acquisition of MetLife’s Premiere Client Group, continues its legacy in its ninth year. In the Spelling Bee’s quest to find the best spellers in the South Asian community, families arrived this past weekend to participate in the daylong regional’s in Atlanta and Charlotte.

In the Atlanta Regional, Sreeniketh Vogoti (13) of Saint Johns, Florida was the regional champ, Navya Murugesan (14) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was the first runner up, and Pavani Chittemsetty (10) of Bentonville, Arkansas, was second runner up.

In Seattle, Snehaa Ganesh Kumar (13) from Folsom, California was named regional champ, Siyona Mishra (12) from Orlando, Florida was first runner up, and Akshra Paimagam (13) of Charlotte, North Carolina, was the second runner-up.

The South Asian Spelling Bee is designed to attract top talent and new spellers and to encourage participants as young as five to interact with other spellers; gain stage confidence; acquire camera savvy; and compete for coveted prizes and titles.

The event is open to children of South Asian descent up to 14 years of age. It gives them the opportunity to test their spelling skills within their core peer group. Interested spellers should have their parent or guardian register them online at www.SouthAsianSpellingBee.com.

Organized by Touchdown Media Inc., the South Asian Spelling Bee is conducted in 12 locations across the United States starting June 11. Regional level events will be held in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C. Metro, New Jersey, New York and Boston.

In addition, Accra, Ghana, was announced as the thirteenth location from which spellers of South Asian descent will qualify for the finals. All events are free to attend and open to the public.

“It’s been a great experience building this platform, and we as a team now look forward to this new inning with MassMutual to further expand and create a veritable platform for the community,” said Rahul Walia, founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee and CEO of Touchdown Media Inc.

“We are excited to be part of the Spelling Bee program,” said Wonhong Lee, Assistant Vice President, Diverse Markets, MassMutual Financial Group. “We understand this event emphasizes the importance of education within the South Asian community. It naturally aligns with MassMutual’s mission to provide financial education and promote financial health in the communities we serve.”

The top two spellers of each regional competition will advance to the August finals in New Jersey. As in previous years, the $10,000 champion’s grand prize will be awarded to the top winner.

Along with MassMutual, food brand Britannia came on board as a sponsor of the event. Britannia Industries Limited is India’s leading food company and marketer of cookies, dairy products and bread.

In addition, Kawan, the world’s most popular Roti paratha brand, returned as a sponsor. As always, SONY Entertainment Television Asia is the exclusive broadcast partner for the MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee and will be airing the series across 120 countries.

Britannia is extremely happy and excited to continue its association with this platform as a presenting sponsor. With its 120-plus years of golden heritage of making healthy, fresh and delicious food, Britannia is a household name among South Asian consumers. This unique platform will help Britannia to reach out to Generation Z and showcase some of its popular brands like “Milk Bikis” and the new introduction, “Milk Bikis Creams,” which are perfectly suited for the budding spellers.

“Kawan is proud to return as a sponsor and we have tremendous faith in contributing towards crucial family time for the community. We look forward to getting to know the spellers and their families through this wonderful journey,” said Tim Tan, Managing Director, Kawan Food.

“Year over year, the South Asian Spelling Bee has made for great programing that gels with our ethos of compete family entertainment. We are all about family values and encourage platforms such as these that highlight the talent of our community,” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of North America, Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.

India Post News Service