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2024 Spelling bee champion is Chinmayi Shyam Sundar of Cuthbertson Middle

In an exciting event at Central Academy of Technology and Arts on Feb. 6, Chinmayi Shyam Sundar, an eighth grader at Cuthbertson Middle, showed off some impressive spelling skills and won the Union County Public Schools (UCPS) 2024 Spelling Bee. The competition featured participants from elementary and middle schools from across the district who engaged in rounds of spelling challenging words like luthier, porcelain, toponymic, caducity, planetesimal and scintillation, to name a few.

Chinmayi devoted countless hours to preparing for the spelling bee with the help of her mother. Diligently studying and practicing a wide array of words, she approached the competition with calm focus, even when faced with the most challenging words.

In the 15th round of the competition, Chinmayi and Alexia Vega, an eighth-grader from Marvin Ridge Middle, were the only ones left, and the audience was on the edge of their seats. Despite the intense pressure, both competitors remained confident and focused.

Chinmayi spelled the final word, tapetum, in round 25, clinching victory and igniting cheers and applause from the audience. Next, she will head to the Scripps regional competition.

"I feel really good about winning," said Chinmayi. "I felt confident with the words because I've read a lot of books since I was young, so I've had exposure to a ton of words. The first time I heard about tapetum was in sixth grade at a museum where there was a dissection. I was so excited to see it. Sometimes, I associate the words with memories before spelling them. That helps, too."






School spelling bee winners:

  • Harish Chandramohan, Antioch Elementary
  • Naomi Gutierrez Flores, Benton Heights Elementary
  • Aly Rodriguez Lorenzo, East Elementary
  • Jacob Castillo, East Union Middle
  • Elianna Zitlalpopoca, Fairview Elementary
  • Belen Alemayehu, Hemby Bridge Elementary
  • Emanya Sibu, Indian Trail Elementary
  • Nithyesh Sunkireddy, Kensington Elementary
  • Sydney Mills, Marshville Elementary
  • Lillian Thompson, New Salem Elementary
  • Jeeven Paulraj, New Town Elementary
  • Jacob Palmer, Parkwood Middle
  • Zach Lowe, Piedmont Middle
  • Sebastian Hasty, Poplin Elementary
  • Sharmishta Dharmareddy, Porter Ridge Elementary
  • Neha Hegde, Porter Ridge Middle
  • Alexa Hoover, Prospect Elementary
  • Christina Zhou, Rea View Elementary
  • Ace Warner, Rock Rest Elementary
  • Nicolas Wilson, Rocky River Elementary
  • Samhita Gajula, Sandy Ridge Elementary
  • Merey Madikyzy, Sardis Elementary
  • Christian Brooks, Shiloh Valley Elementary
  • Astrid Collins, Stallings Elementary
  • Anugraha Sibu , Sun Valley Middle
  • Cordelia Ellerbe, Union Elementary
  • Caroline Bromstrup, Unionville Elementary
  • Josiah Perez, Walter Bickett Elementary
  • Tanish Ghosh, Waxhaw Elementary
  • Aarav Shah, Weddington Elementary
  • Lenisha Maheshkumar, Weddington Middle
  • Reyansh Dasari, Wesley Chapel Elementary
  • Katherine North, Western Union Elementary
  • Kaylee Alvarez, Wingate Elementary