Baker Middle School seventh grader Aryan Khedkar placed in the top five in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, out-spelling students from all over the country.

Baker Middle School seventh grader Aryan Khedkar placed in the top five in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, out-spelling students from all over the country.

Photo provided by Patrice Rowbal

Troy student places in top five in National Scripps Spelling Bee

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published June 28, 2023


TROY — Baker Middle School seventh grader Aryan Khedkar knows how to bee successful after placing in the top five finishers at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The Scripps Spelling Bee took place June 5-9 in National Harbor, Maryland. A Rochester Hills resident who attends Troy Schools, Khedkar said it was a huge accomplishment for him.

“It was a really great experience,” he remarked. “It was such a memorable week. I am so thankful for my parents and my teachers, because I had to have some of my teachers sponsor me.”

This achievement was a longtime goal of Khedkar, who said he has always been an avid reader and has competed in spelling bees for several years.

“I could read when I was 1 1/2, so I read early. I could spell words I would see, like on exit signs. We found competitions from the North South Foundation, and that was how I got into my first spelling bee,” Khedkar said.

“He’s been going to spelling bees for years,” added his father, Rahaul. “He worked really hard to get here. This was such a fruitful trip for him. I was glad he got to represent Michigan.”

The Scripps Spelling Bee was the end of a long road for Khedkar, and it challenged even experienced spelling bee contestants.

“First was the school bee. After that, there was a regional bee. Then you get selected into Scripps. Our regional bee was all of Oakland County,” Khedkar explained. “It was a little different from other bees. There were oral word meaning and vocabulary rounds. That was every second round between the four spelling rounds. There were four of these vocab rounds.”

Despite the challenge, he said it was an unforgettable week.

“There were many events there. They wanted to stress the fun,” he said. “They wanted to make it the best week. I got to meet a lot of people. Being there was also nerve-wracking, but it was fun because it meant I made it. I tried to make it in the last two years, so it was great to finally make it there.”

Khedkar said the final round was as challenging as he anticipated.

“I placed fifth in the final round,” he said. “One of my final words was ‘door,’ and I had to choose the right one, because it is a homonym and has so many spellings like dour, dore, and so forth. One of my final words was ‘pharetrone,’ and that was one of the only words I didn’t get. There were some really hard challenges.”

After he returned to Michigan, Baker Middle School held a surprise reception for him June 8 where his teachers and fellow students recognized him for his top-five finish.

“The celebration was very unexpected,” Khedkar said. “A lot of kids asked me how hard it was. They were rooting for me. It was very fun.”

Khedkar went on to say that he hopes to be back next year and will see if he can win the whole thing.

“I am going to try again next year. You can compete in Scripps until the eighth grade,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss it.”