Finalists from Houston Public Media Spelling Bee ready to compete nationally

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HOUSTON – Congratulations to the finalists of the nation’s largest local spelling bee!

After competing in nine rounds with 56 spellers representing 42 counties in Texas, Shourav Dasari, a resident of The Woodlands and an eighth grader at McCullough Jr. High in Conroe ISD, was the last speller standing in the 2017 Houston Public Media Spelling Bee. Apparently the winning word for Dasari was “Rafraîchissoir.”

When speaking of his victory, Dasari said, “I’m excited to go back to Scripps because it’s very fun and the bee you want to win so I’m happy to be able to go try again.” This third year competitor is very excited for what’s to come.

Raksheet Kota, a resident of Katy and an eighth grader at Beckendorff Jr. High in Katy ISD, followed behind as the runner-up.


“This is my fifth time at the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee and I’ve been so close each year,” Kota said. “The national spelling bee was always an unreachable dream to me so I’m really happy to make it a reality.”

These two champs will now advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, scheduled to take place May 28 – June 2, 2017 in Washington, D.C. for “Bee Week.” It will be Kota’s first time competing.Dasari will be speller No. 200 at the national bee and Kota, No. 254. They will be joining more than 280 spellers from across the country for the national spelling bee’s 90th year. Be sure to tune as the spelling bee broadcasts live nationally on ESPN!

Lisa Trapani, Shumate, associate vice president and general manager of Houston Public Media, said “Our spelling bee is highly competitive – last year’s national co-champion came from our bee and each year our winners are national top contenders. Education is a Houston Public Media mission pillar and we’re honored to organize, produce and broadcast this superior academic competition.”

For more information about the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee, go to

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