13-year-old speller from Colorado Springs wins Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee

Thu, May 30, 2002 by Mark Kroeger

WASHINGTON - Pratyush Buddiga, a 13-year-old speller from Colorado Springs, Colo., won the 75th Annual Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee today.Pratyush was named the National Spelling Bee Champion in the 11th round after correctly spelling the word “prospicience.” Pratyush is the son of Rekha and Jayasimha Buddiga of Colorado Springs. He represented the Rocky Mountain News in Denver in this year’s competition.The spelling competition began Wednesday with 250 competitors who qualified to compete in the national spelling bee by winning locally sponsored bees in their home communities. Kenneth W. Lowe, president and chief executive officer of The E. W. Scripps Company, declared Pratyush the national champion and awarded him the engraved National Spelling Bee Championship loving cup immediately after the winning word was correctly spelled.“We congratulate Pratyush for his outstanding performance during this year’s spelling bee,” Lowe said. “Pratyush had the knowledge, poise and stamina he needed to rise to the top of a field that included the world’s most accomplished spellers. That’s quite an achievement.”The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is administered year-round on a not-for-profit basis by Scripps, which is headquartered in Cincinnati, and 238 newspaper sponsors in local communities across the country. The competition was held in the Independence Ballroom at the Grand Hyatt Washington. This was the first year that Pratyush had competed in the National Spelling Bee. He receives a $12,000 cash award, an engraved loving cup, and from Encyclopedia Britannica, one set of the Encyclopedia Britannica, one set of the Great Books of the Western World, and the 2002 Britannica CD. Pratyush also receives a $1,000 U.S. savings bond and a reference library from Merriam-Webster.All of the students who competed in the national spelling bee receive cash prizes ranging from $75 to the $12,000 championship prize. All spellers also receive a commemorative watch from the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award, which consists of a $100 EE U.S. Savings Bond.Finishing second in this year’s competition was Steven Matthew Nalley of Starkville, Miss. Steven is the son of Barbara and Timothy Nalley and represented the The Commercial Appeal in Memphis. Steven receives a cash prize of $6,000. The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest running educational promotion. This year’s competition is the 75th spelling bee since the event was started in 1925 by the Louisville Courier-Journal. Scripps Howard assumed sponsorship of the program in 1941, but did not hold spelling bees during the World War II years of 1943, 1944 and 1945. Frank Neuhauser, the winner of the first National Spelling Bee, attended the final rounds of this year’s competition. Neuhauser, 88, of Potomac, Md., is a retired patent attorney. He won the 1925 National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling the word “gladiolus.” He received a cash prize of $500 in $20 gold coin pieces. The Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee is administered year-round on a not-for-profit basis by The E. W. Scripps Company. Scripps is a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks and interactive media. Scripps operates 21 daily newspapers, 10 broadcast TV stations and four cable television networks.Scripps national television network brands include Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY -- Do It Yourself Network and Fine Living. Scripps Networks programming can be seen in 25 countries. The company also operates Scripps Howard News Service, United Media, the worldwide licensing and syndication home of PEANUTS and DILBERT, and 31 Web sites, including hgtv.com, foodtv.com, diynet.com, fineliving.com and comics.com.

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