Indian Immigrants Win Big At National Spelling Bees Descendants of Indian immigrants have produced several spelling bee champions. Balu Natarajan was the first Indian-American to win the National Spelling Bee at age 13. Since Natarajan's win 24 years ago, eight other Indian-American kids have won that same title, including the most recent 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee winner Kavya Shivshankar.
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Indian Immigrants Win Big At National Spelling Bees

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Indian Immigrants Win Big At National Spelling Bees

Indian Immigrants Win Big At National Spelling Bees

Indian Immigrants Win Big At National Spelling Bees

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Balu Natarajan, front right, poses with other Indian-American contestants at the 1983 National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. hide caption

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Balu Natarajan, front right, poses with other Indian-American contestants at the 1983 National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. Others pictured: Sanjay Patel (rear left), Malini Annamalai, Bindhu Gopalan, Balu Natarajan, Mini Chadha.

At last week's annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, 13-year-old Kavya Shivshankar claimed victory. Shivshankar is the ninth Indian-American to win the title, and was one of six to make it to the finals. In 1985, Balu Natarajan became the first Indian-American champion at age 13.

Natarajan tells how he became interested in competitive spelling and explains why he thinks Indians have excelled in the Bee.