To be spelling bee champion for Kendall and Grundy counties, Akshay Manikandan had to spell “cirrhosis.”
The 14-year-old eighth grader from Oswego SD308′s Murphy Junior High School in Plainfield was able to rattle off the spelling for the liver disease without any trouble. “I had it memorized,” said Manikandan, of Aurora.
Later this month, Manikandan and his family will travel to Washington, D.C., to represent Kendall and Grundy counties in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Manikandan was honored May 2 by the Kendall County Board for his spelling and vocabulary prowess. Grundy-Kendall Regional Office of Education Superintendent Chris Mehochko and County Board Chairman Matt Kellogg presented Manikandan with a plaque commemorating his win, over more than a dozen contestants in the two-county area.
Board members also paid homage to Yorkville Middle School seventh grader Sam Humpage, who was second only to Manikandan in the Regional Office of Education competition.
The secret of his success?
“I just study words a lot,” said Humpage, 12, who placed as runner-up by only one point.
Mehochko said the regional competition was held online, with contestants from the fifth through eighth grades. Students had to spell 20 words and provide definitions for another 20 vocabulary words.
The national spelling bee will be a televised event from May 30 to June 1 at a convention center in suburban Maryland, Mehochko said.