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Conroe ISD student named 2017 Houston Public Media Spelling Bee champion

Katy ISD student named runner-up; both advance to Scripps National Spelling Bee

HOUSTON – An eighth-grader in the Conroe Independent School District emerged as the champion of the 2017 Houston Public Media Spelling Bee.

Houston Public Media said Shourav Dasari, who attends McCullough Junior High, competed in nine rounds with 56 total spellers representing 42 Texas counties.

"Rafraîchissoir" was the winning word for Dasari during the championship round of the competition of the Houston bee, which the organization said is the nation's largest local spelling bee.

Katy resident and eighth-grader Raksheet Kota, who attends Beckendorff Junior High in Katy ISD, was the runner-up, the organization said.

The two spellers will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking place May 28-June 2 in the Washington, D.C., area, with an all-expenses-paid trip to "Bee Week," the organization said.

The final rounds were broadcast live on Houston Public Media TV 8 and was also streamed live online, the organization said.

"I'm excited to go back to Scripps because it's very fun and the bee you want to win, so I'm happy to be able to go try again," Dasari said.

The organization said 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. He tied for 11th place at Scripps in 2016.

This will be Kota's first time to compete at Scripps National Spelling Bee, the organization said.

"This is my fifth time at the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee and I've been so close each year," Kota said. "The national spelling bee was always an unreachable dream to me, so I'm really happy to make it a reality."

The organization said Dasari will be speller No. 200 at the national bee and Kota will be speller No. 254.

Spellers who participated in this year's Houston Public Media Spelling Bee included 29 girls and 27 boys ranging in age from 8-15 and in grades third through eighth, representing 1,151 schools in Texas, the organization said.

"We're so proud of all the students who competed in today's challenging bee," said Lisa Trapani Shumate, associate vice president and general manager of Houston Public Media. "Our spelling bee is highly competitive -- last year's national co-champion came from our bee and each year our winners are national top contenders."

Click here for more information on the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee.