The Scripps National Spelling Bee won’t name a champion until Thursday night, but there’s one contestant that’s already won America’s hearts.
Six-year-old Akash Vukoti is the youngest contestant in this year’s Bee, where he's been competing against kids twice his age.
Vukoti punched his ticket to Washington, D.C., after winning his local Spelling Bee in San Angelo, Texas. He then passed a preliminary written test to become one of the 284 spellers to take the stage in Wednesday’s second round.
The Bee also made the wise decision to feature Vukoti in a promotional video.
Like most 6-year olds, Vukoti enjoys jumping on the trampoline. Unlike most 6-year-olds, Akash won his first spelling bee at the age of 2 and can fluently read and write in Telugu and Hindi. With an IQ of 135, Vukoti is also a member of American Mensa.
Earlier this year, Vukoti showed off his spelling talents on an episode of Steve Harvey’s TV show “Little Big Shots.” Vukoti took on Harvey in a spelling contest, tackling words like “derriere” and “connoisseur.” Then came the grand finale, when Vukoti stunned the host by correctly spelling “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis,” a type of lung disease.
Thanks to that experience, Akash said he has altered his career goals from astronaut to “astroactor.”
Unfortunately, Vukoti just missed out on Thursday’s finals, going down on the word “bacteriolytic.” But, luckily for him, when you're nine years under the age cutoff, there’s always next year. And the year after that, and the year after that …