14-year-old Dev Shah of Florida wins Scripps National Spelling Bee with final word ‘psammophile’
(CNN) — Dev Shah, a 14-year-old from Largo, Florida, won the 2023 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night, correctly spelling psammophile to take the $50,000 first prize.
“It’s surreal. … My legs are still shaking,” he said at the competition in National Harbor, Maryland.
Eleven students made the finals after 11 million people entered spelling competitions throughout the world.
The preliminary rounds were held Tuesday, while the quarterfinals and semifinals took place Wednesday.
In Thursday’s finals, Dev correctly spelled schistorrhachis, aegagrus, rommack and tolsester. In the word meaning round, Dev picked the right definition of chiromancy, identifying it as someone who tells fortunes using lines on the palm of the hand
Dev competed against 14-year-old Charlotte Walsh from Merrifield, Virginia, as the final two standing. She earned $25,000 for reaching second place after correctly spelling akuammine, collembolous and Jhangar.
The 231 elementary and middle school students in the national spelling bee this year were as young as 9 and as old as 14. There were contestants from every US state, and 11 students from the Bahamas, Canada, Germany, Ghana, the US Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico, according to the E.W. Scripps Company, the organization that operates the bee.
More than 180 were National Spelling Bee first-timers, and 49 were returning contestants.
Dev previously had tied for 51st place in 2019 and finished tied for 76th in 2021.
The student at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Pinellas Park, Florida, also won $2,000 in book money to be donated to the school of his choice, a $2,500 cash and reference book award from Merriam-Webster, and $400 worth of reference material from Encyclopedia Brittanica.