11-Year-Old Speller Proves Invincible for 2nd Year
Plano 6th-Grader Takes 1st Place in University-Sponsored Regional Face-off

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.

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

ContestantLaurel WakefieldZoe RubenChetan ReddyKimber WalterscheidLokesh NagineniEmily WhiteKelsey HovanetzChris AnthonyKatelyn JohnsonLuke BorelKelsi OrmsApril LamCarly CopelandChristine RejcekTimothy WhiteIsaiah DeanZachary MitchellSteele MusgroveSamantha SloanFrank HallCameron Sullivan Terrence TinnellAbigail WhiteTyler ClarkLaney Kay Pilcher

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Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].