Did you hear the buzz… - North South Foundation

San José, California
September 2011
Did you hear the buzz…about the best among the brightest?
San José, CA — This Labor Day weekend, San José State University was bursting with the brightest
students from all across America buzzing around from one bee to another. This is
because the North South Foundation (NSF) held its National Championship
Finals at this venue. The contest boasted over 1,300 contestants, all of whom
received top ranks from the regional contests held in March and April. All the
students that qualified from the regional contests were invited to compete in this
Labor Day weekend national competition. Language related contests, such as the Spelling,
Vocabulary, Essay Writing, and Public Speaking Bees were held on Saturday, September 3rd. On the
other hand, the Math, Geography, Brain Bee, and for the first time, the Science Bees were held on
Sunday, September 4th.
These events are conducted by North South Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is
to promote excellence in human endeavors, develop human resources, and help people achieve
success regardless of religion, gender, caste, geographic origin by giving hope to those who may have
none. The educational contests in America are designed to encourage excellence among IndianAmerican children to better prepare and compete with their peers in their academic pursuits. In
addition to hosting educational contests in the United States, the Foundation disperses scholarships
to deserving students in India, poor in money, but rich in merit, regardless of religion, gender, caste
or creed. North South Foundation is all run by volunteers with no payroll. With a single minded
focus, the founder, Dr. Ratnam Chitturi, has fostered this enterprise for over 20 years by providing a
platform for a generation of committed and passionate volunteers. Due to the tireless efforts of Dr.
Murali Gavini in the earlier the years and the founder in the later years, increasing opportunities
were provided for contestants to demonstrate superior academic performance. Many prior NSF
winners have been admitted into top ranking schools such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford, as well as
dominated in the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee. Just within the last four years, Sameer
Mishra (2008), Kavya Shivashankar (2009), Anamika Veeramani (2010) and Sukanya Roy (2011)
have all placed first in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Other former NSF participants also have
won accolades in MATHCOUNTS and the National Geographic Bee. Furthermore, this year's Bee
Champions were lauded by chief guest Mr. Tom Torlakson, the 27th State Superintendent of Public
Instruction of California in the awards ceremony held on Sunday evening.
In an era of declining quality in education in general and SAT scores in particular, the Foundation's
efforts are noteworthy in empowering children to excel in a variety of academic subjects, starting
right from the first grade. NSF introduced online math coaching couple of years ago. It has
become quite popular with 60 volunteer coaches signing up this year. The Foundation introduced
science program two years ago. The science program is offered early on to children as young as first
grade. Through early exposure, NSF hopes to inculcate interest in the science subject.
One of the crown jewels of NSF is the Senior Spelling Bee, a very prestigious contest out of all NSF
bees. The best of the best compete round after round until elimination in the challenging third
phase. This year, Stuti Mishra (Jacksonville, FL) took home the first place trophy with the winning
San José, California
September 2011
word feretory. The second and third place winners were Narahari Bharadwaj (Dallas, TX) and
Syamantak Payra (Houston, TX), respectively. In the Junior Spelling Bee, the young participants
knew the spelling of words well beyond their years. In first place, Roshini Kainthan (Marlboro, NJ)
took home the prize. Runners up were Shourav Dasari (Houston, TX) in second place and
Raksheet Kota (Houston, TX) in third place. The following are the winners in all other contests:
Junior Vocabulary Bee
1 Rohan Roplekar, Peoria, IL
2 Mantra Dave, Bloomington, IL
3 Navya Gautam, Rockville, MD
Intermediate Vocabulary Bee
1 Mihir Nene, Stamford, CT
2 Anjali Nambrath, Marlboro, NJ
3 Surabhi Iyer, Worcester, MA
Math Bee Level 1
1 Soham Konar, Columbus, OH
2 Roshni Kainthan, Marlboro, NJ
3 Neel Basu, San Diego, CA
Math Bee Level 2
1 Akshaj Kadaveru, Fairfax, VA
2 Stuti Garg, Portland, OR
3 Sanjana Ramrajvel, Hinsdale, IL
Math Bee Level 3
1 Shohini Stout, Cambridge, MA
2 Saranesh Prembabu, San Ramon, CA
3 Abhinand Sivaprasad, Seattle, WA
Junior Geography Bee
1 Arjun Nathan, San José, CA
2 Rohith Paranji, Detroit, MA
3 Abhinav Karthikeyan, Rockville, MD
Senior Geography Bee
1 Karthik Karnik, Worcester, MA
2 Asha Jain, Madison, WI
3 Varun Mahadevan, Palo Alto, CA
Senior Essay Writing Bee
1 Smitha Gundavajhala, San José, CA
2 Venkat Rd Munukutla, Palo Alto, CA
3 Ramya Auroprem, San José, CA
Senior Public Speaking Bee
1 Venkat Rd Munukutla, Palo Alto, CA
2 Arun Ponshunmugam, Jacksonville, FL
3 Priyanka Menon, Detroit, MI
Junior Science Bee
1 Vaibhav Sharma, Fairfax, VA
2 Varun Chheda, Indianapolis, IN
3 Pratham Soni, Detroit, MI
Intermediate Science Bee
1 Anna Nixon, Portland, OR
2 Achyut Reddy, Philadelphia, PA
3 Krithik Vallem, Detroit, MI
Senior Science Bee
1 Saranesh Prembabu, San Ramon, CA
2 Abhijit Mudigonda, Portland, OR
3 Dheeresh Maddu, Dallas, TX
Brain Bee
1 Ankita Nallani, Detroit, MI
2 Sanjana Salwi, Marlboro, NJ
3 Abhijit Mudigonda, Portland, OR
San José, California
September 2011
From our Senior Spelling Bee Champion…
NSF got together with Senior Spelling Bee Champion, Stuti Mishra, to talk about her spelling career,
interests, and what lies in the future after her exciting win.
Stuti is going into 8th grade and lives in West Melbourne, FL. She is an avid swimmer and is “open
to anything, really” in terms of career choice. Some of her favorite words are dhyana (because it is her
sister’s name), which refers to meditation and hemidemisemiquaver, another name for a sixty-fourth
note in music.
Stuti is one of many NSF contestants who have competed in the prestigious Scripps National
Spelling Bee. A semifinalist at the 2011 Bee where former NSF contestant Sukanya Roy took home
the trophy, she placed 19th. Stuti “had a lot of fun there” and is “really excited about going again.”
She particularly enjoys the humorous sentences given as examples for the words -- Stuti laughingly
recounts how she received the sentence of “I like to go home and listen to my mellisonant voice” for
the word mellisonant.
Stuti says that she felt “happy and really excited” after she won at the NSF finals. When we asked
her how much she prepared, she says that she did “as much as she could do every day” and tried to
get in about 2 hours a day after school started. She says that studying spelling interests her because
“it’s not always about learning words, but it also involves learning about different cultures and
languages as well.”
From our Math Level 3 Champion…
Shohini Stout is the Math Level 3 Champion and lives in Lexington, MA. She started participating
in the NSF math contests since 3rd grade. Now she is in 9th grade. She says her father had
motivated and inspired her to focus on math. For advice to others, she says, "Math is for fun, and
happens to be quite useful as well. But never assume that math is just schoolwork. There’s a real
beauty in math, and if you put the effort in, you will love it." To girls, she says, " There is no
difference in mental capacity between girls and boys, so how come girls make up far less than half of
top competitors in math? Please help and join the quest to show that girls can be just as good as
boys in math!"
NSF was started over 22 years ago with the purpose of providing educational scholarships to needy
children who display academic excellence in India. NSF funds these scholarships by raising funds in
the US through spelling bees and direct donations. The NSF Scholarship program is designed to
encourage excellence among the poor children who excel academically but need financial help to
attend college. Each scholarship is $250 per student per year. NSF has distributed more than 6,000
scholarships to students who need financial support to pursue their quest for knowledge in
engineering, medicine, polytechnic, science and other fields. The scholarship is an annual award and
not a one-time payment. The student is eligible for the scholarship until graduation as long as
San José, California
September 2011
he/she maintains high academic standards. The local chapters in various states of India invite
applications from students, screen them and select the neediest students who eventually become
NSF scholarship recipients. NSF recently signed an MOU with Jawahar Nayodaya Vidyala Samiti to
provide NSF scholarships to the needy students and conduct educational contests among their 600
schools across the country.
The NSF Championship Finals were sponsored in part by individuals, foundations and corporations.
Cognizant was a Gold Sponsor this year. For more information about the NSF activities, you can
visit www.northsouth.org or contact Dr. Ratnam Chitturi at 630-323-1966.