CHAMPIONSHIP FINALISTS

Speller No. 185, Anamika Veeramani, 1st place
The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Incarnate Word Academy
Hometown: North Royalton, Ohio

Anamika’s passions include reading, writing, photography and painting. She takes private lessons in Indian classical dance and golf. Anamika has been studying Indian classical music for eight years, and has played the violin for six years. She is a member of her school’s orchestra, and she also enjoys swimming. Anamika is very interested in science and she has participated in science fairs at which her research projects have earned several awards. She aspires to become a cardiovascular surgeon, an author and a screenwriter. Anamika tied for fifth place in the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Speller No. 55, Adrian Gunawan, 2nd place tie
Commonwealth Edison, Chicago, Illinois
Age 14, 8th grade
School: South Middle School
Hometown: Arlington Heights, Illinois
Adrian likes chemistry, and puts that strong interest to good use as a two-year member of his school’s Science Olympiad team. He is driven to become either an engineer or a surgeon and, to support those goals, he uses his spare time to study his favorite subject, mathematics. Adrian is not all about science and math, though—he likes classical music and The Beatles. Adrian participated in the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Speller No. 133, Elizabeth Platz, 2nd place tie
Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, Missouri
Age 13, 8th grade
School: Home School
Hometown: Shelbina, Missouri
Elizabeth enjoys reading, creative writing and poetry. She has written her first fictional book based on a group of friends who discover and help save a secret world, and she is planning to write several sequels. Elizabeth’s favorite book is Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. She also enjoys drawing, painting and music. Elizabeth aspires to have a career in fine arts, utilizing her writing and drawing skills. She and her brother have an extensive Beanie Babies collection. She participated in the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Speller No. 180, Shantanu Srivatsa, 2nd place tie
North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders, Bismarck, North Dakota
Age 13, 8th grade
School: Cheney Middle School
Hometown: West Fargo, North Dakota
Shantanu’s raison d’etre is to excel in everything he tries. However, he learned early on that, while winning is enjoyable, participation is even more satisfying. This is Shantanu’s third consecutive appearance at the Bee, and his second time representing the state of North Dakota. His favorite subject is math, and has represented his school at regional and state mathematics competitions. Shantanu has played piano for six years. Some of his hobbies include collecting ancient coins to add to his coin collection, swimming and playing tennis.
Speller No. 24, Laura Newcombe, 5th place tie
CanWest CanSpell National Spelling Bee, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Age 11, 7th grade
School: Deer Park Public School
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Laura enjoys swimming and ballet. A music enthusiast, she loves to create her own music or to listen to the musical performances of others. Laura is an avid reader whose favorite book is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. She likes to write poems and stories, and aspires to be a writer. Laura also enjoys drawing manga. She appreciates the great outdoors—especially the trees, flowers and water. Laura tied for 17th place in the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Her sister, Leslie, participated in the 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Speller No. 102, Lanson Tang, 5th place tie
The Meakem Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, Bethesda, Maryland
Age 14, 8th grade
School: Home School
Hometown: Potomac, Maryland
Lanson loves sports. He is a dedicated swimmer, and is especially good at swimming breaststroke. He also enjoys basketball, soccer, volleyball and running. Lanson likes reading, and read hundreds of books while in elementary school. His favorite subject is mathematics, and he aspires to be either a statistician or a game designer. Lanson also likes learning foreign languages, and can speak Chinese, some French and some Spanish. He enjoys theater and dance, and he plays piano and violin.
Speller No. 205, Joanna Ye, 5th place tie
WITF: Public Media for Central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Age 13, 7th grade
School: Lamberton Middle School
Hometown: Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Joanna plays the flute in her school’s concert band, plays alto saxophone in jazz band and she plays tenor saxophone in the marching band. Her favorite kind of music is alternative rock, but her favorite musician is Ludwig Van Beethoven. Joanna likes to play tennis and her first tournament was last December. She has received various math awards and she has participated in local science fairs. Joanna likes to read and write, and she placed first for fiction in The Hershey Story history contest. She also enjoys art, and won the Pennsylvania Art Education Association logo design contest.
Speller No. 273, Andrew Grose, 5th place tie
Wisconsin State Journal, Madison, Wisconsin
Age 13, 8th grade
School: Lake Country Academy
Hometown: Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Andrew is active in Theater for Young Audiences where he has appeared in numerous plays and musicals including High School Musical and The Wizard of Oz. He has been involved in other aspects of theater production, including lighting and scenery and he recently expanded his skills by directing his first play. A music enthusiast, Andrew sings, plays piano and percussion, and was honored at music camp with an award for musicianship. Andrew’s favorite sport is tennis and he plays in United States Tennis Association tournaments year-round. Andrew loves exploring exotic cuisines and is learning to cook. Andrew participated in the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee. His aunt, Marie Grose Campbell, participated in the 1973 Scripps National Spelling Bee.


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