Can you spell Rafraîchissoir?

Houston Public Media Spelling Bee winner secures return trip to national competition

Houston Spelling Bee winner lands return trip to national competition

Houston Public Media Spelling Bee winner Shourav Dasari congratulated by his father
2017 Houston Public Media Spelling Bee winner Shourav Dasari is congratulated by his father, Ganesh Dasari. Photo by Craig Hartley/courtesy of Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media Spelling Bee runnerup Raksheet Kota and winner Shourav Dasari
2017 Houston Public Spelling Bee runner-up Raksheet Kota and winner Shourav Dasari. Photo by Craig Hartley/courtesy of Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media Spelling Bee runnerup Raksheet Kota congratulated by his family
2017 Houston Public Spelling Bee runner-up Raksheet Kota receives congratulations from his family. Photo by Craig Hartley/courtesy of Houston Public Media
Houston Public Media Spelling Bee winner Shourav Dasari congratulated by his father
Houston Public Media Spelling Bee runnerup Raksheet Kota and winner Shourav Dasari
Houston Public Media Spelling Bee runnerup Raksheet Kota congratulated by his family

Shourav Dasari is headed back to Washington. The Woodlands teenager emerged in first place at the 2017 Houston Public Spelling Bee competition held Saturday night and will represent our area in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, to be held in the nation's capital May 28 through June 2.

Last year, Dasari, an eighth grader at McCullough Junior High School in Conroe ISD,  participated in the national competition and took 11th place.

After competing in nine rounds with 56 total spellers representing 42 Texas counties at the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee, Dasari won the competition by correctly spelling the word, rafraîchissoir, defined as "a small table or stand having a marble top with wells sunk into it especially for containing plants or flowers." The final rounds were broadcast live on Houston Public Media TV 8 and streamed live online.

This is Dasari's third year to compete at the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee and his second year to make it to Scripps National Spelling Bee. 

Raksheet Kota, an eighth grader at Beckendorff Junior High School in Katy ISD, was runner-up and will also advance to the national competition. This will be Kota’s first time to compete at Scripps National Spelling Bee. He and Dasari will join more than 280 spellers from across the country at the 90th national bee, aiming for the victory and prizes worth more than $40,000. The bee will broadcast live nationally on ESPN during “Bee Week.”

The Houston competition is the nation’s largest local spelling bee. This year's contest drew 29 girls and 27 boys ranging in age from 8 to 15 and in grades third through eighth, representing 1,151 schools in Texas.