A Salute to This Tiny 6-Year-Old Speller, the Youngest in the Bee

Akash Vukoti, age six, is the youngest speller in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee, and for that I just wanna say, “C-O-N-G-R-A-T-U-L-A-T-I-O-N-S,” and then swaddle him in a blanket and sing him to sleep.


“I study very hard,” Vukoti, who has been competing in bees since he was two, told KSHB. “I study at least one to three hours [a day]. I find words randomly because there are words you never heard before.”

That is true if you are six, but also if you are older.

Vukoti will compete in Wednesday’s preliminaries after winning the San Angelo, Texas Spelling Bee against much older children. You might recognize the tiny genius from an appearance on Steve Harvey’s youth talent show, “Little Big Shots,” during which Vukoti humiliated Harvey by wiping the floor with him in an impromptu spelling bee. Harvey spelled all three words wrong, while Vukoti spelled all of them, including “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis,” correctly.


Horrifically, his appearance on Harvey’s show changed his professional ambitions, according to the local television station: Vukoti doesn’t want to be an astronaut anymore; he now wants to be an actor.

Vukoti has already passed a written preliminaries test, and will be competing Wednesday against 7th and 8th graders with the hope of becoming one of 50 finalists to make it to Thursday.

Good luck, you weensy prodigy. I’ll be scream-crying your name and hushing my ovaries from my couch.

Update (5:30 p.m.): Vukoti has been eliminated for misspelling the word “bacteriolytic,” which is really messed up in terms of level of difficulty because I saw an 11-year-old get to spell “abstinence.”


Senior Editor, Jezebel

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I've long accepted that a lot of people can spell better than me. Now, even six year olds can. :(