High Prairie teen wins spelling bee title in Calgary

Aryan Kumar will represent northern Alberta at a national spelling bee in Toronto in May.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Sometimes it’s not about how you get there, as long as you get there!

Aryan Ranjan Kumar, 13, of High Prairie, has qualified for the national spelling bee competition later this year at Toronto after winning the intermediate level at the Calgary Regional Spelling Bee April 6 at Renert School.

High Prairie and area residents may know Aryan as the teenager who spearheaded the chess club in High Prairie, proving his interest in intellectual endeavours is varied.

Aryan won the competition in Calgary but represents northern Alberta. How did that happen?

His mother entered him in the competition. To be eligible, a chapter must host the local spelling bee. Because there was not a High Prairie chapter, she entered her son in the Calgary chapter. What complicated matters is he was sick the week before and could not attend the Edmonton bee as planned. Calgary organizers were more than willing to let Aryan enter given the circumstances and he promptly won the competition.

Aryan is the son of parents Ranjan Sivakumar and Lavanya Authimoolam, of High Prairie. The entire family is grateful to Calgary organizers for letting Aryan enter.

The intermediate category is comprised of youth 12-14 years of age.

Aryan says he was given a list of 400 words to study before the competition. In addition to studying before the Calgary bee, he loves to read, which may have been the difference between winning and losing.

Competition was tight until there were two competitors left.

“There was a tie,” he says. “There was new set of words.”

However, these words were not part of the list he was given to study.

Back and forth they went with each successfully spelling their words. Until, that is, Aryan’s opponent misspelled “effusion” by spelling it “iffusion” in about the tenth round.

Aryan corrected the spelling and had a chance to win by correctly spelling “iconology” which he did.

Aryan says he spent a lot of time studying the list and felt well-prepared.

“I just wanted to do my best,” he says, adding it was first time he entered a spelling bee.

Moving forward, he has some dictionaries and spelling dictionaries to study before going to Toronto. He expects to receive a new set of words to practice before leaving for Toronto.

He also thanks the High Prairie Municipal Library for helping him prepare by lending him books.

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