Olathe speller Vanya Shivashankar advances to semi-finals of Scripps Spelling Bee

WASHINGTON - The Olathe spelling dynasty of the Shivashankar family will continue. Vanya, who is making her third trip to the Scripps Spelling Bee, was announced as a semi-finalist on Wednesday.

Vanya's sister Kavya won the Bee in 2009. Three years later (in 2012), Vanya tied for 10th in the Bee. This year, she's made the semi-final round, which begins on Thursday.

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Vanya is the only Kansas City-area speller to make the final 42. A speller from the St. Louis area, who also tied for 10th last year, will continue on as well.

Only one Kansas City-area speller was knocked out of the competition by misspelling a word. Sterling Hollond, a student in the Basehor-Linwood District, was eliminated during the third round of spelling -- the final round before semi-finalists were selected.



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