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Local students advance to USD Scripps Spelling Bee

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Adele Benoit of Yankton, Kadarkaraisamy Harshavardhan of Vermillion and Nana Addo of North Sioux City advanced to the 2014 University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee after taking top honors at the Southeast South Dakota Regional Oral Spelling Bee, Saturday, Feb. 15 at Aalfs Auditorium on the USD campus.

Benoit, the daughter of Joseph and Caprice Benoit of Yankton and a student at Sacred Heart Middle School, was the top oral speller. Harshavardhan, a student at Jolley Elementary School in Vermillion, and Addo, a student at Dakota Valley Elementary School in McCook Lake, finished second and third, respectively, to advance to the state competition, which is at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 22 at Farber Hall inside of Old Main. They will compete against the top three places from each of these South Dakota regional locations: Rapid City, Mitchell, Sioux Falls and Castlewood. The event will be streamed live on

Thirty-five students, representing nine area elementary and middle schools, competed at the 2014 Southeast South Dakota Regional Spelling Bee. In addition to the oral bee, students completed a written exam prior to the oral competition. Benoit and Erica Okine of Dakota Valley Middle School tied for first place in the written bee with a perfect score while Owen Dudley from Vermillion Middle School was second and Yasha Doddabele of Dakota Valley Middle School was third.

The winner of the University of South Dakota Scripps Spelling Bee will participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, May 25-31, in Washington D.C. The competition is open for students in first grade through the eighth grade.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News