Dhurrie – a heavy cotton rug from India – was the winning word for Dev Shah, the first repeat Central Florida Spelling Bee Champion. It only took 18 rounds spanning five hours to do it.
Encompassing more than a third of the counties in Florida, the third annual Central Florida Spelling Bee took place at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City Friday, Feb. 5.
The Central Florida Spelling Bee expanded this year to include numerous counties on the east side of the state. In total, 23 counties – Brevard, Charlotte, Citrus, De Soto, Hardee, Hernando, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lake, Manatee, Marion, Martin, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, Seminole, St. Lucie, Sumter and Volusia – are included in the contest.
The winner of Friday’s bee not only earns bragging rights but also entry into the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., shown on ESPN over a span of days.
Shah, who attends Ridgecrest Elementary School in Largo, was denied a chance to compete in the national bee last year due to it being cancelled over the coronavirus pandemic.