The Determination Of A Returning Spelling Bee Finalist


It takes a lot of dedication to enter one Spelling Bee and fight your way all the way to the national finals. It takes an impressive amount to experience defeat and re-enter year after year, all with the same hopes of success. That is just the start of the story of a young boy called Dev Jaiswal.

Jaiswal’s Interest In The Spelling Bee Began When Watching His Sister.

Dev’s first experience with spelling bees came when his sister competed in the national bee. He attended with his family to cheer her on and enjoy the activities of Bee Week. The Scripps National Spelling Bee is widely regarded as the Olympics of spelling, with good reason. It is a serious competition mixed with a fun atmosphere. Encouraged by the enjoyment he experienced, he decided to put himself forward for spelling bees.

Over Time, Jaiswal Would Compete In Many Events In The Hope Of Glory.


Dev’s journey began in 4th grade when he competed in his first bee. The following year, he tried again and reached the national competition, only to rank 51st overall. Rather than call it quits, he tried again but failed to qualify for the national bee for the next two years.

One of the most important rules of the National Spelling Bee is the age limit. You can start at age 7, but you cannot compete if you are 15 or over, have completed 8th grade, or are a past winner. When the 2015 competitions came around, Jaiswal was in 8th grade, so this was his final shot. This time, he qualified for the national bee in D.C. and got right near the end – only to be thwarted by a single letter.

Jaiswal’s Story Didn’t End There.

In many cases, the names of spelling bee finalists don’t get that much press attention or wider interest. You might see an article here or there about the finals, and then it all dies down. It was a little different for Dev, however, due to instant social media fame. For a short period, he was the “iridocyclitis kid” after a viral Vine showing his pronunciation of the word that knocked him out.

Seven years on, Jaiswal is now a senior at Princeton, so still heavily devoted to his education. Vine may be long dead, but you have to wonder how many peers still get him to spell iridocyclitis on campus.