Downingtown’s Sharma wins county spelling bee

Pictured above is 2017 Chester County Spelling Bee Champion Sid Sharma from Downingtown Middle School, with second place winner Aakash Narayan and third place winners Ritish Kodali from Katheryn D. Markley Elementary School and Lineesha Kamana from the Marsh Creek Sixth Grad Center. (From left to right: Ritish Kodali, Aakash Narayan, Sid Sharma, and Lineesha Kamana).

DOWNINGTOWN — “E-s-t-r-e-p-e.” With those seven letters in that precise order, Sid Sharma nabbed the championship title at the 2017 Chester County Spelling Bee. During the event, 51 students from 51 schools spelled their way through 246 words. 

As the last student standing, the Downingtown Middle School seventh grade student has earned a trip for two to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May. Additional congratulations go to the former two-year champion taking second place this year, Aakash Narayan from Great Valley Middle School; third place winners Ritish Kodali from Kathryn D. Markley Elementary School and Lineesha Kamana from the Marsh Creek Sixth Grade Center; and to all 51 students who competed in the Chester County Spelling Bee. 

Each student earned their position in the Chester County Bee by winning their individual school’s Spelling Bee, meaning each speller that took the stage was already a champion in their own right. Students prepared by studying Scripps-provided word lists and practicing at home. Sharma took preparations a bit further, looking up definitions from the word lists and having his parents quiz him on both spelling and definitions. 

The considerable spelling talent in the room was evident as students spelled through the provided word lists and moved on to additional words, many of which they had never seen or heard. After 16 rounds of semifinals, Sharma noted, “When we got to the words off the list, I had to wing it and just do my best. I was extremely nervous and shaking the whole time.” But his nervousness and preparation paid off; “I feel amazed; I never expected this would happen. It feels great to win!” 

As champion, Sharma also received the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award certificate for a 2017 United States Mint Proof Set award, a one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online and a one year subscription to Encyclopedia Britannica Online. The second-place winner received a Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, a $50 Amazon gift card and a Bananagrams game. Third place winners took home a Bananagrams game and a $25 gift card.

The 2017 Chester County Spelling Bee will be available for viewing on the CCIU website at in early March.

For more information on the Chester County Spelling Bee, please visit or contact Barbara Caso at 484-237-5053.

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