Meet the 6-year-old who cast a charm spell over Scripps
Published Thursday, May 26, 2016 1:43PM EDT
Six-year-old spelling whiz Akash Vukoti doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘intimidated.”
No really, he doesn’t actually know what it means. But he probably knows how to spell it.
The Grade 1 student from San Angelo, Texas, was this year’s youngest contestant at the Scripps Spelling Bee contest in National Harbor, Md. And although he was competing against kids more than twice his age, Vukoti insists he wasn’t scared.
Asked Thursday, in an interview on CTV News Channel, whether he felt intimidated by the older kids at the competition, Vukoti gave a puzzled look and then asked, “What does ‘intimidated’ mean?”
It’s that mix of precocious intelligence and everyday boyish charm that quickly made Vukoti the crowd favourite at this year’s competition on Wednesday.
The diminutive first grader strode confidently to the microphone to spell his first word, but then had to spend several seconds bending the mike down to a level he could reach.
He went on to ace his first word -- inviscate, which means to wrap something up in a sticky substance.
The crowd went wild when he got it correct, which is rare at a spelling bee, where correct answers are usually rewarded with polite applause.
But the second word, bacteriolytic -- meaning something that kills bacteria -- tripped Vukoti up. He guessed an “a” when the “o” should have gone and just like that, his long fought-for moment at the competition was over.
Still, Vukoti says he’s proud of how far he advanced, explaining that his parents first realized he had a talent for spelling when he was 1-1/2 and correctly spelled out the word “spoon.”
Several spelling bees later, and it’s clear that Vukoti is not your average six-year-old when it comes to letter arrangement.
Asked whether he understood the meaning of all the words he was asked to spell, Vukoti admitted that no, he doesn’t.
“But I know a lot of them,” he insisted.