C-h-a-m-p-i-o-n . . . again
Kannoth wins fourth straight spelling bee title
Four years ago as a nervous third-grader, Aditya Kannoth stepped to the microphone at Wilder Middle School and quietly started a dynasty.
Kannoth correctly spelled the word "unenforceable" to win the Henrico County Spelling Bee in the ninth round, outlasting nearly 60 other students representing each of the county's elementary and middle schools.
The following year, at Hungary Creek Middle School, Kannoth spelled "exhilarated" correctly to repeat as the county champion in a 15-round bee.
Last year at Hungary Creek, Kannoth spelled "immaculate" in the 13th round to win his third consecutive title.
But he wasn't done yet.
Last week at Hungary Creek, Kannoth outlasted dozens of opponents for the fourth straight year, this year spelling "surrealism" in the 19th round to earn a "four-peat" as county champion.
That Kannoth has excelled so consistently at the highest level perhaps shouldn't come as a surprise. Without any coaching or lessons from his parents, he taught himself to read at the age of 3. By the same age, he had memorized the names of all 50 states and knew their capital cities, his mother, Sarita, recalled recently.
"[In 2009] he came home and said he won his class bee, and we said, ‘Ok, great,’" Sarita Kannoth said. "Then he won the school bee, and then the county bee. We were completely amazed at that point."
His love of reading – a regular pastime at home – "is really what helps him," Sarita Kannoth said. "He's been reading much more than kids normally do at his age. We've let him read a couple of John Grisham books because we were running out of others."
Kannoth, who aspires to be either an engineer (like his father, Vinod) or a neurosurgeon, is driven by a competitive streak.
"Sometimes I don't like studying, but I really look forward to the competition," he said.
When he's not spelling, Kannoth enjoys playing a variety of sports (including tennis and basketball) and video games. He prepares for the spelling bee each year by studying list of words online.
During the competitions, he frequently asks for the definition and origin of a word to help provide himself with clues about its spelling. Then he attempts to visualize the word in his mind.
His advice to would-be spellers?
"First of all, just sound it out," he said. "Depending on the language, it will probably work – except if it's French. That's
harder to sound out."
Several times in the past four county spelling bees, that advice has helped him spell a word that at first seemed tricky, Kannoth said.
On March 10, Kannoth will again compete in the regional spelling bee at the Library of Virginia. This time, he's going with one thought in mind.
"I'm going to try to win it this year," he said.
The ultimate goal of competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. serves as another motivating factor for the young student.
"I've heard it's really nice," he said, "and that it's not just about spelling. They take you on tours and stuff like that."
And despite his success in spelling and interest in reading, Kannoth's favorite subject is math.
"It's pretty complex, challenging," he said.
In addition to being perhaps the most acclaimed scholastic speller in Henrico County history, Kannoth also sports one of the most impressive collections of dictionaries for a student his age. That's because the winner of the Henrico bee receives one each year.
"The very first year, he was fine with the prize," Sarita Kannoth recalled with a chuckle. "Then the next year he said, ‘Oh, I hope it's not a dictionary.’
"Now, we've got a collection of dictionaries."
That's "dictionaries:" D-i-c-t-i-o-n-a-r-i-e-s.
Henrico's Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is one of only 20 gardens in North America nominated for USA Today’s “10Best Reader’s Choice” contest for Best Public Garden.
The 20 public gardens nominated are:
• Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
• Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, New York
• Buthcart Gardens, Victoria, B.C.
• Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Ga. > Read more.
Photo by Patty Kruszewski/Henrico Citizen 02/24/2014
The Fifth Annual Henrico Police Athletic League (PAL) Award Banquet, held Feb. 6 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, honored HPAL’s top volunteers and employees, including Morgan Lewis, Youth of the Year; Dale Alexander, Volunteer of the Year; Lowell Thomas, Employee of the Year, and Victor Williams, Board Member of the Year. Also honored for their support were Jim and Christi Dowd of Richmond BMW and Josh Davis of Henrico County Public Schools Pupil Transportation.
Keynote speaker for the banquet was Tim Hightower, a University of Richmond alumnus and former NFL running back. Hightower was introduced by Billy McMullen, former NFL player and a Henrico PAL board member. > Read more.
The Pocahontas Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, based in western Henrico, last year donated more than $1.3 million worth of manufacturers coupons to U.S. military personnel overseas. Throughout 2013, members and friends of the chapter clipped 952,349 manufacturers’ coupons valued at $1,350,630, which Program Chairman Carole Featherston shipped to U.S. military bases abroad. Military personnel can use the coupons when shopping in base stores.
The National Society Daughters of American Colonists is a women’s genealogical and patriotic society whose members are descended from a man or woman who rendered civil or military service in any of the American colonies prior to July 4, 1776. > Read more.
If you’re looking for a date night with someone special, Henrico is the place to be! Check out a classic 90s movie, “My Girl,” at Henrico Theatre; Circa, an innovative circus from Australia, will dazzle at the University of Richmond; and celebrate TGIF at Keagan’s Restaurant where the PJ Bottoms Band is performing. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
Abstract paintings of Inge Strack (pictured) are on display through March 9 at the Gumenick Family Gallery at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen. Strack, a Chestefield painter of German origin, often paints in bold colors with a deep sense of emotion, focusing on brushstrokes, texture and form to find a balance. Strack’s painting is routed in the European tradition of expressionism but has found its own, unique language in following the American dream.
“I am not attempting to abstract the physical world," she said. "I draw my subject matter from inside of myself hoping to create a constant conversation between the viewer and the painting, especially since abstracts do not seem to answer but ask.” > Read more.
Do you play pickleball? Learn more about this oddly-named but fun-to-play sport tomorrow! Though it’s still pretty chilly outside, you can get a jump start on spring at the Richmond Home and Garden Show or at a workshop on raised bed gardening at Lavender Fields Herb Farm. For all our top picks this weekend in Henrico, click here! > Read more.
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