Weddington Middle student takes third in spelling bee

Feb. 11, 2013 @ 05:05 PM

Weddington Middle School Student Ashwin Subramaniam came in third at the 2013 Charlotte Observer Regional Spelling Bee. 

Subramaniam, a seventh-grade student, came in third at last year's bee as well. 

This year he was out of the bee after failing to spell "asthmatic." 

"He made it so far. I'm so happy," Sumi Subramaniam, his mother and spelling coach, said. "You never know what word you'll get." 

Sumi said her son was confused by the pronunciation of the word. 

"That's okay, we have one more year," she added. 

Subramaniam and his mother work on spelling for ten to 15 minutes every day, in addition to homework and other extracurricular activities. 

"My son loves it," Sumi said. "It's his ambition." 

He began spelling bees in the third grade when his teacher at Weddington Elementary suggested it. 

"He always felt he could spell words and he's been a great speller," Sumi said. 

Though his mother gets nervous during spelling bees, Subramaniam stays cool and collected. 

"I usually get nervous, because I'm his mom. Ashwin's never nervous...(that is) one great thing I admire in my son," Sumi said. "He works very hard...he never gives up so fast."

Subramaniam also impressed his principal and the school system with his performance.

"I think it's wonderful," Weddington Middle School Principal Steve Wray said. "Ashwin works very hard not only at school, but after school working on his passion, which is spelling." 

"He's just a fine young man in all aspects," Wray said. 

John Jones, assistant superintendent for instructional programs, was also proud. 

"Ashwin is a student who has committed so much time and effort to the craft of being able to compete in spelling bees and he has done very well," Jones said. "He's very determined...we've been very impressed with him." 

"He makes a wonderful representative for our school system and we feel he certainly has what it takes to win regionally and one day nationally, even," Jones said. 

Subramaniam's mother said they hope to compete again next year. 

"We never give up," she said. "We have one more year."

"I'm very proud of him today and we're very happy that he made it so far," Sumi said. 

The winner of the regional spelling bee goes on to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The Charlotte Observer pays for their trip. This year, Claire McCrea, a seventh-grade student from Hickory Public Schools won the bee. 

For his third place finish, Subramaniam received a $150 Visa gift card and a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble.