2010 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee
By Ruchit Desai

From L to R) Ginger Jones, Advertising Consultant, MetLife; Rahul Walia, Founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee; Laurel Daring, Assistant Vice President of Marketing, MetLife; John Derbick, Assistant Vice President of Advertising, MetLife; Jaideep Janakiram, Head – North America, Sony Entertainment Television Asia and Arvind Mahankali, National Runner-Up of the 2009 MetLife

New York , NY : Touchdown Media Inc. announced plans for the third MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee with the titular insurance company once again returning as the head sponsor of the contest. The 2010 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee is open to children of South Asian descent up to age fourteen, giving them the opportunity to test their spelling skills with peers in the community. Prospective spellers are encouraged to register online at www.southasianspellingbee.com

This year’s contest will be held in nine locations across the USA beginning June 17 th with all events being free to view and open to the public. These regional level events will be held in Los Angeles, Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, DC Metro, and Boston. Participants will begin by completing a written test of 25 words, spelling 15 or more correctly to advance to the afternoon oral round with the top three competitors earning prize money. The top two spellers of each regional competition will in turn advance to the final round to be held in New Jersey on August 14 th with the winner receiving a $10,000 scholarship. 

Introduced as the “man behind the magic,” Mr. Rahul Walia, CEO of Touchdown Media Inc. and founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee, expressed his sheer delight and optimism to celebrate the third year of the competition. He professed his pride and admiration for any children who “dedicate themselves to a particular craft” and of course has a soft spot for those who choose to dedicate their time to perfect the skill of spelling words correctly. “It is a long journey,” he mentioned, with these  “spelling bee tours” requiring a lot of stamina as there are many different levels – from school to district to regional and so forth. 

Laurel Daring, assistant vice president of Marketing at MetLife, mentioned her enthusiasm for the competition and that the company is “proud to once again serve as the title sponsor of the South Asian Spelling Bee and to help children enjoy a fun, educational activity.” Keeping with their tradition of assisting families develop financial strategies to attain quality education for their children, the company was also pleased to announce they are doubling the scholarship prize from the previous year. 

Another change this year welcomes Yatra.com, one of India’s premier travel brands, as the Associate Sponsor for the event.

As always, the Spelling Bee will be telecast on Sony Entertainment Television, Asia in over 120 countries. Mr. Jaideep Janakiram, Head – North America, SET Asia, mentioned he is very excited to be involved in the event as “the Spelling Bee is a fantastic platform for youth of all ages to showcase their language skills, dedication and self-motivation.” With SET Asia providing an opportunity for the competition to be seen across the globe, participants have yet another reason to challenge their minds and push themselves to excellence.

What better way to actually see the fruits of the event than with the national first runner-up from 2009, Arvind Mahankali from Forest Hills, New York, who was also present to kick things off for the annual Spelling Bee. To prepare for the contest, the boy took online tests in addition to his parents quizzing him on complex words. His presence reaffirmed the fact that the event ultimately serves to better the youth of the community in a big way. For more information on how to become a contestant or how to view the competition, please visit www.southasianspellingbee.com.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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