March 18, 2021
8th grader wins western PA spelling bee
For the second consecutive year, an Upper St. Clair student has been crowned champion of the Western Pennsylvania Spelling Bee. Rohan Mehta, a Fort Couch Middle School eighth grader, took top honors on Saturday, March 13, 2021 – qualifying to advance in the competition.
There are three levels of competition – preliminary, quarterfinal and semifinal segments. In past years, those three rounds were held over one week – Bee Week. This year, due to the global pandemic, the preliminaries, quarterfinals and semifinals will be held virtually in the weeks leading up to the July 8 finals and will be broadcast live on ESPN platforms. The semifinals are slated for June 27, and dates for the earlier virtual rounds of the competition will be announced this spring.
Ten to 12 finalists will travel to Orlando to complete in-person at the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The event will take place on Thursday, July 8, at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort and will be broadcast in primetime on ESPN2.
Rohan was one of five Upper St. Clair students who competed in the Western Pennsylvania Spelling Bee. Others included Finley Garvey, Baker Elementary School; Divya Singh, Eisenhower Elementary School; Lindsey Fitzgerald, Streams Elementary School; and Raana Parchuri, Boyce Middle School. To qualify for the regional competition, each finished first in his/her school’s spelling bee. The school-level spelling bees were coordinated by the Upper St. Clair Parent Teacher Council with sponsorship from MIDSYS Inc.
The runner-up of the Western Pennsylvania Spelling Bee is Boyce Middle School fifth grader Raana Parchuri. Last year, Raana, then a fourth grader at Baker Elementary, was crowned champion at the 70th Annual Western Pennsylvania Spelling Bee, which was held in March 2020 at Robert Morris University. Unfortunately, the 2020 Scripps National Spelling Bee event was canceled due to the pandemic.
The Western Pennsylvania Spelling Bee was open to students up to grade eight from throughout a 26-county region. The event is typically held at Robert Morris University; however, this year’s event was held virtually.