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Karthik Nemmani declared champion of the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Jun. 1, 2018 By Valerie Miller

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – Karthik Nemmani, a 14-year-old speller from McKinney, Texas, is the champion of the 2018 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Karthik (CAR-thik) Nemmani earned the coveted title in round 18 when he correctly spelled “koinonia,” which is defined as “intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community.”

This was Nemmani’s first time participating in the national finals.

Adam Symson, president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP), presented the championship trophy moments before ESPN signed off from the 91st Scripps National Spelling Bee.

“Karthik showcased not only broad knowledge of the English language but also incredible poise under pressure,” said Symson. “This is a grueling competition that takes years of preparation and then challenges the participants all week long. Karthik handled it with grace and maturity. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a national treasure, and we take great pride each year in seeing the inspiration it brings to audiences across the U.S. – and the world.”

Nemmani, an 8th grader at Scoggins Middle School, was an RSVBee participant. RSVBee is an invitational program created by the Bee this year to level the playing field for national finals qualification and provide opportunities for more students to experience Bee Week.

Bee Week took place at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. This year’s competition totaled 18 rounds. Round-by-round results are available at

The champion receives:
From Scripps: a $40,000 cash prize and the Scripps National Spelling Bee engraved trophy.
From Merriam-Webster: a $2,500 cash prize and a complete reference library.
From Encyclopædia Britannica: reference works and a three-year online membership.
From Pizza Hut: a schoolwide pizza party for the winning speller’s school.

As the Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, Nemmani will immediately begin a media tour with appearances on national networks, entertainment programs and digital platforms including “Good Morning America,” “Today Show,” “CBS This Morning,” “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Naysa Modi of Frisco, Texas, representing Dallas Sports Commission, placed second in the competition and will receive $30,000.

Nemmani placed as runner up to Modi in the Collin County Spelling Bee earlier this year, and Modi advanced to the Texas regionals that earned her a spot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Abhijay (uh-bee-jay) Kodali of Flower Mound, Texas, representing Dallas Sports Commission, and Jashun (juh-SHOON) Paluru of West Lafayette, IN, representing Administrator Assistance, tied for third place in the competition and will each receive $15,000.

The competition began Tuesday with 515 spellers. The number of participants is a substantial increase from last year’s 291 spellers due to RSVBee.

Each year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee reaches more than 11 million students participating in spelling bees held in classrooms, schools and locally sponsored events around the country.


About the Scripps National Spelling Bee:
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Visit for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.

About Scripps:
The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP) serves audiences and businesses through a growing portfolio of local and national media brands. With 33 television stations, Scripps is one of the nation’s largest independent TV station owners. Scripps runs a collection of national journalism and content businesses, including Newsy, the next-generation national news network; podcast industry leader Midroll Media; and fast-growing national broadcast networks Bounce, Grit, Escape and Laff. Scripps produces original programming including “Pickler & Ben” and runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”

For questions or general inquiries:


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For media inquiries only:
Valerie Miller
Manager, External Communications