11-Year-Old Speller Proves Invincible for 2nd Year

Plano 6th-Grader Takes 1st Place in University-Sponsored Regional Face-off

Apr. 8, 2011

For the second straight year, 11-year-old Chetan Reddy proved invincible when he claimed the top spot at the 53rd Annual Dallas Morning News Regional Spelling Bee.

Chetan Reddy, shown with his parents, UT Dallas alumni Geetha Manku and Vijay Reddy.

The sixth-grade boy from Plano’s Rice Middle School correctly spelled caisson, which is “a chest to hold ammunition,” to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.

The bee was co-sponsored by UT  Dallas and had another link to the University: Both of the winner's parents are alumni.

“I guess I did well,” said Reddy, who wants to be a lawyer. “It was harder than last year.”

The bee was broadcast live on WFAA-TV (Channel 8) on Saturday, March 26. Reddy defeated 24 other contestants from North and East Texas, with early eliminations occurring on words like gondola, hydrology and caribou.

Reddy got his chance to correctly spell the final word of the bee when runner-up Cameron Sullivan, a 13-year-old from Navarro County, misspelled vitiate, which means “to make faulty or defective.”

Dennis Kratz, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, awarded the grand prize on behalf of UT Dallas at the bee’s conclusion.

Reddy’s parents, Vijay Reddy (MSEE ’92) and Geetha Manku (MS ’94), were nearby when their son received his trophy from Kratz.

“To have mastered the idiosyncrasies of English well enough to win one spelling bee is impressive, and to have repeated as champion is extraordinary,” said Kratz. “I am particularly proud that our champion’s parents are UT Dallas alumni and that he has indicated a desire to continue that tradition.”

The 2011 Dallas Morning News Regional Spelling Bee was presented by UT Dallas. Whataburger and Community Coffee also were sponsors.

The National Spelling Bee is scheduled to be broadcast Thursday, June 2, on ESPN beginning at 9 a.m., with the final rounds beginning at 7:30 p.m. Both times are Central Daylight Time; check local listings.

Media Contact: Karah Womack, UT Dallas, (972) 883-5890, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]
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DMN Regional Spelling BeeDMN Regional Spelling Bee

Twenty-five students participated in the Dallas Morning News 53nd Annual Regional Spelling Bee on March 26.


Laurel Wakefield
Zoe Ruben
Chetan Reddy
Kimber Walterscheid
Lokesh Nagineni
Emily White
Kelsey Hovanetz
Chris Anthony
Katelyn Johnson
Luke Borel
Kelsi Orms
April Lam
Carly Copeland
Christine Rejcek
Timothy White
Isaiah Dean
Zachary Mitchell
Steele Musgrove
Samantha Sloan
Frank Hall
Cameron Sullivan
Terrence Tinnell
Abigail White
Tyler Clark
Laney Kay Pilcher


Bowie County
Cherokee County
Collin County
Cooke County
Dallas County-Private
Dallas County-Public
Denton County
Ellis County
Franklin County
Grayson County
Gregg County
Harrison County
Henderson County
Hill County
Hopkins County
Hunt County
Kaufman County
Lamar County
Limestone County
Morris County
Navarro County
Red River County
Rockwall County
Smith County
Upshur County

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June 23, 2018