Shane DeSilva and his sister, Shenali, center, pose with 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee co-champions Ansun Sujoe, left and Sriram Hathwar, right. It was the first tie since 1962. Photos provided by Sam DeSilva
Shane DeSilva and his sister, Shenali, center, pose with 2014 Scripps National Spelling Bee co-champions Ansun Sujoe, left and Sriram Hathwar, right. It was the first tie since 1962. Photos provided by Sam DeSilva

Archived Story

‘He is a winner’ – Despite not reaching final round, DeSilva pleased to compete in bee

Published 10:29am Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Shane DeSilva’s spelling journey is complete.

The Pacelli Catholic Schools student returned home after competing against 281 other spellers in second- through eighth-grades at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., held May 28 through June 1.

Although he did not make it to the final round, Shane was not disappointed.

“I kind of didn’t go there to win; I kind of went there to enjoy the experience,” Shane said.

The spelling bee only takes 50 spellers into the final round, and after eliminating spellers through two verbal rounds, this year there were still about 210 spellers, according to Sam DeSilva, Shane’s dad. The next step eliminated spellers based off scores from a written computer test taken earlier in the week. Shane made it past the two vocal rounds, correctly spelling “serdab” and “tiffin.”

Shane DeSilva competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week.
Shane DeSilva competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee last week.

Shane said he was not nervous about spelling any of the words, but he thought the vocabulary questions on the written test, which requires the speller to define the word, were what got him eliminated.

“The spelling was more I knew it, but the vocab I had to guess on,” Shane said.

Shane, an eighth-grader, will not be eligible to compete next year. Despite not making it to the final round, Shane said he had a great experience.

“I liked it a lot, it was really fun,” Shane said.

Even though Shane’s spelling bee journey is done, the family’s journey may not be. Shane’s sister, Shenali, a sixth-grader, took second in the semifinals and was sixth place overall in the Southeast Minnesota regional bee. Sam said it was good for her to see Shane in the national spelling bee, so she has a better idea of what to expect if she competes next year.

While watching the final round on ESPN, Shane said he was able to spell about half the words. He said he thought he would have had about a 50-50 chance at winning the final round. But he and his family are happy about how far Shane made it.

“Just getting in, he is a winner,” Sam said.

Shane and all 281 competitors received Windows tablets.

Ansun Sujoe and Sriram Hathwar won the bee in the first tie since 1962.


Sign in to Comment | Need help commenting? Click here

Editor's Picks