Moore sixth-grader wins LPS spelling bee

Rikhil Jasti, a sixth-grader at Moore Middle School, won the 33rd annual Lincoln Public Schools Oral Spelling Bee on Saturday.

He was among nearly 30 middle school students who competed in the bee, held at Culler Middle School. Jeffrey Ogbonnaya, a sixth-grader at Irving Middle School, placed second.

There were plenty of sweaty palms and bouncing knees inside the Culler auditorium - but not for Jasti.

“I like being on stage,” he said. “I’ve never had stage fright.”

Jasti had been practicing one to two hours a day for the past three weeks with his mother, who first introduced him to spelling bees when he was in second grade.

“Spelling is my thing,” he said.

By the eighth round, it was down to Jasti and Ogbonnaya. They traded correct spellings for three more rounds with words such as salamander, periodically and amino. In round 11, Jasti won by correctly spelling haughty and vortices.  

He's now entered into the Omaha World-Herald Midwest Spelling Bee in March, and the winner of that contest will be flown to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

LPS co-sponsors the spelling bee with the Lincoln Journal Star.

Published: February 10, 2020, Updated: February 15, 2020