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WXYZ Detroit 7 Action News

Troy Baker Middle School student only Michigan student remaining in Spelling Bee

By Sarah Michals, Brian Schwartz,


Michigan is cheering on 7th grader Aryan Khedkar who has now made it farther than any other student from our state in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

When the bee competitions started on Tuesday there were 231, 9-14 year-olds competing from across the country, now there are less than 56 spellers left and Aryan is one of them.

The 7th grader from Baker Middle School in Troy tells us he's been putting in about 23 hours a week of studying to prepare for the competition.

"Since I was in kindergarten I have loved to spell and, in fourth grade, I found out about the Scripps Spelling Bee," said Khedkar. "I thought it would be a good opportunity."

When asked the hardest work he's had to spell so far Aryan said; "I think it was my fourth word, syllabary. I asked for something and they said 'No,' and I was like,' Oh God, what’s gonna happen next?'"

What would happen next is Aryan spelling the word right and making it to the semi-finals with the top 56 spellers in the country.

He's now made it the farthest of any kid from Michigan.

"It’s very nerve-racking, there’s a big audience and the ballroom is huge," said Aryan.

There's a whole audience back home as well.

Aryan's classmates at Baker Middle School tell us they've all been watching.

7th grader Parth Kulkarni said, "Yeah we’ve been watching it in every class! I feel like it’s pretty cool because you get to spell along with them."

"He’s just really humble and kind," said Ved Nakum about Aryan.

Classmate Sohum Arora said she could tell he's always loved spelling; "I know that he’s always been preparing for this, and he’s been very lighthearted about it, but he’s always been talking about it."

Samiha Israt said, "I’m really proud of him, we all are."

"When you explore more words, you get to know more language patterns," shared Aryan. "So I wasn’t just memorizing the word, I was learning the language pattern, learning the roots, roots are really important."

Outside of Tuesday through Thursday competitions, Aryan's been able to participate in games and presentations during his week in D.C.

He tells us the week's already been full of making lifelong friends and m-e-m-o-r-i-e-s.

"This was like a dream come true," said Aryan.

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