WASHINGTON — Syamantak Payra, a Friendswood seventh grader who attends Clear Creek school district’s Westbrook Intermediate School, was among 11 students to make the finals of the 86th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday. But it was New York eighth grader Arvind Mahankali who spelled tokonoma and knaidel correctly to win the competition.

During the nationally televised finals Thursday night, Payra stumbled on the word cipollino — describing a type of marble — and was the fifth competitor eliminated from the competition.

Payra, 12, in March was the winner of the Houston region’s spelling bee. He was competing in his first National Spelling Bee after winning the Clear Creek ISD spelling bee three years straight.

During the semifinal round, Payra correctly spelled hepatectomy and lallation and was among the high scorers on the first vocabulary test in the bee’s history.

Payra and the other finalists competed for more than $30,000 in prizes and a trophy.


Syamantak Payra

Speller No. 242

Sponsor: HoustonPBS

Age, grade: 12, seventh grade

School: Clear Creek ISD’s Westbrook Intermediate School, Friendswood

Profile: Payra’s favorite things to do include building computers, reading, playing music, swimming and playing ping-pong. He also loves building with Legos and is a licensed amateur radio operator. Academically, he participates in many competitions, including science fairs and math club. He won a gold medal in the Physics/Astronomy division at his 2013 district science fair and placed third at 2013 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston. Payra also thrives in scientific and creative writing. He’s published more than 12 poems and essays in anthology collections and magazines. He also won second place in the Scientific Writing Contest at the 2013 Science and Engineering Fair of Houston.

Contact Mainland Editor T.J. Aulds at tjaulds@galvnews.com or 409-683-5334.

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(6) comments

Carol Voight

Good Luck Sya!!!!!! We will be rooting for you!!!!!!

Miss Priss

Way to go! I'll be rooting for you as I get ready to tune in!!

Lars Faltskog

Jeepers, this title makes it look like he tripped upon entry onstage to spell something like "vivacious" . Wouldn't a more positive title to the story be, "Spelling Bee Finalist Gives it His All in Final?"

Either way, this boy has made quite an accomplishment - and it didn't involve playing ball/sports (which we hear about ad nauseum just about every day). Great job.

George Croix

Nice try, son. You worked hard and did your best. Your efforts reflect positively on you.
Which is more than can be said for whoever decided the title for this article.

Miss Priss

For the first time around Sya did excellent! And basically the youngest in the group of finalists.

JBG JBG

What I like about this is that Syamantak Payra after having been the Champ Speller in Clear Creek for the last three years has served notice to America that, he is a FORCE to be reckoned with in years to come on the NATIONAL STAGE! I like that! Now, it is about preparation,determination, and desire!
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So I say this to Mr. Payra,.....LET'S START "RIGHT" NOW, PREPARING TO GO GET THAT HARDWARE FOR NEXT YEAR! We are going to get it to!! So let go MAN!!!!
"LET'S GO MAN!!! You're representing this whole COUNTY!! "LET'S GO MAN!"

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