Jairam Hathwar, the winner of the National Spelling Bee says through spellings he learnt about various careers and professions. The word that got him the title – Feldenkrais – the word is used to define a system of aided body movements intended to increase body awareness and ease tension.
According to him, “Spellings open doors to new worlds and it is because of learning spellings that I have developed interest in becoming a doctor.”
It wasn’t an easy ride for him. He started when he was nine years old and he made it to the Nationals at 12, which he couldn’t win. He was 22nd then. But he continued studying spellings for another year and at 13, this year he bagged the title along with Nihar Janga, who also happened to be his friend.
His brother, who won the same competition two years ago, was his inspiration, as without him, Jairam feels he wouldn’t have known about the competition at all.
I wondered if his school too emphasized on spellings, and he said that the school doesn’t have much of a role with learning spellings. “They do stress on it, but that’s not enough for winning a contest like this one. I am not sure if they should stress on spellings any more than they already do”, he adds.
When I asked him, “Do you find it strange that most South Asians end up being Spelling Bee champs?” He says that it seems like most South Asian parents stress on education and maybe that’s the reason for South Asians willing the Spelling Bee. His mother, Roopa says, “When you see words misspelled in public places, it reflects poorly on the people responsible for that. I think good spelling skills gives people better focus and an attention to detail, which helps them in all walks of their life.”
Jairam is happy to have been a part of Scripps Spelling Bee and the South Asian Spelling Bee contests, because they taught him several things. For one, they taught him never to give up. He kept on participating till he won. That’s a great lesson to have learnt at such a young age – to learn from failure, and not be burdened by it. Of course, the some of the credit also goes to Jairam’s parents who have inculcated this attitude in him!
Also, the South Asian Spelling Bee helped him in getting over the nervousness of being on stage and in facing an audience – again a great skill to have in life. Apart from that, he also made a lot of friends at these contests.
It seems like a great experience to participate in Spelling Bee contests from all that Jairam says. The Brown Desi wishes him and his co-winner all the best in all their endeavours! It’s not a small feat to know the pronunciation and spelling for Gesellchaft or Fiedenkrais! Great work guys!