I was really impressed with Arvind Mahankali. Do you remember him? He’s the 13-year-old who won the 86th Scripps National Spelling Bee earlier this year. His winning word was “knaidel,” which has Yiddish and German roots, meaning a small dumpling.

Arvind, who hails from Bayside Hills, New York, competed against 281 contestants who qualified for the national competition. According to news reports, an estimated 11 million children took part in feeder tournaments across the U.S. In his last year of eligibility, Arvind, an  aspiring physicist, won $30,000 in cash and a $2,500 savings bond.   

Two things impressed me about the young Indian-American. Despite all the hoopla, Arvind never got caught up in the excitement and was extremely reserved, even in the face of a cheering crowd and falling confetti. But the most impressive part of this ... »
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