From the Team

Seventh Season of the MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee Announced

June 11, 2014 – Touchdown Media Inc., the leading Multicultural advertising firm, today announced the launch of the seventh season of the MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee. MetLife, a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, returns as the title sponsor of the contest.

The event is open to children of South Asian descent up to 14 years of age. It will give South Asian children a chance to test their spelling skills in their core peer group. Interested spellers need their parent or guardian to register them online at www.southasianspellingbee.com.

Organized by Touchdown Media Inc., the 2014 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee will be conducted in 12 locations across the United States starting on June 14. Regional level events will be held in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Orlando, Washington DC Metro, New Jersey, New York and Boston. All events will be free to attend and open to the public.

“This year is special to us not only because its our 7th year, but also because 2 of our alumni were named Co-Champions at the Scripps international, sealing our community’s dominance in this craft. We are happy and excited to embark on yet another quest to seek the best speller from our community. The Bee has become a critical platform for the youth and we aspire to continue this effort year after year,” said Rahul Walia, CEO of Touchdown Media Inc. and founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee.

SASB Founder with Scripps co-Champions

Each competition will begin with a written test of 25 words. The participants must spell 15 or more words correctly to advance to the afternoon oral round, which will be conducted by experienced pronouncers and judges. The top three in the oral round will receive prize money.

The top two spellers of each regional competition will advance to the finals to be held in New Jersey in August. Like last year, MetLife has funded the $10,000 champion’s scholarship that will be awarded to the winner at the finals.

“MetLife is pleased to serve once again as the title sponsor of the South Asian Spelling Bee competition,” said Laurel Daring, assistant vice president, Diverse Markets, MetLife. “This event allows youth from across the country to test their spelling skills in a national forum that can provide a tremendous boost toward fulfilling a student’s educational aspirations. By challenging themselves in this manner, all of the participating students gain a better understanding of how much they can achieve through hard work and dedication.”

Along with MetLife, food brand Kawan and education company C2Education have also come on board as sponsors for this event. As always, SONY Entertainment Television Asia is the exclusive broadcast partner for the MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee and will be airing the series across 120 countries.

“Kawan is proud to support this platform that helps in the overall growth of the child. We look forward to seeing this year’s talent and are happy to be part of the process to find the best speller from the South Asian community,” said Tim Tan, Director – International Business, Kawan Food, makers of the world’s most popular Roti Paratha Brand in the world – Kawan Paratha.

“C2 Education is very honored to be associated with the MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee for the third consecutive year.  Seeing the children’s enthusiasm and dedication to succeed is truly inspiring”, said Steve Helgeson, Director of School and Community Partnerships, C2Education.

“Once again, we are proud to be associated with the Bee and are looking forward to showcasing the journey in the quest for the best speller. We look forward to yet another successful year,” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of North America, Sony Entertainment Television-Asia.

For a complete schedule, registration and any other information, please visit: www.SouthAsianSpellingBee.com.

Find us on Facebook at South Asian Spelling Bee and you can follow us on our Twitter handle at Spell South Asian.

About MetLife: MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), through its subsidiaries and affiliates (“MetLife”), is a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs. MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.

About Sony Entertainment Television Asia: Since its launch on the Indian subcontinent in 1995, Sony Entertainment Television (SET) has enjoyed rapid success, leading to the establishment of European, North American and African feeds known as SET Asia.  SET and SET Asia are now available in over 150 countries.  The channels offer their viewers a distinctive blend of entertainment programs twenty-four hours a day, including, soap operas, dramas, sitcoms, concerts, movies, and game shows. For more information, visit www.setasia.tv.

About Touchdown Media Inc. : Touchdown Media Inc. is a specialized South Asian advertising and promotions firm based in New Jersey. Now in its 11th successful year, Touchdown has helped clients- both mainstream and otherwise, reach out to the lucrative South Asian market, Touchdown Media represents more than 35 years of collective experience in this niche market. As a full service ad firm, Touchdown has helped many clients achieve their media and marketing goals within the South Asian Diaspora in the US.


South Asians Do it again! 5 of the 11 finalists are South Asian Spelling Bee Alumni

National Harbor, MD- May 30, 2013, 11 finalists took the stage at the Scripps National Spelling Bee championship. Yet again 8 of those 11 were of South Asian descent and 5 of those were alumni of the MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee.

Finalists Arvind Mahankali, Saymantak Payra, Chetan Reddy, Sriram Hathwar and Vanya Shivshankar, all have participating with South Asian Spelling since their early years. While Vanya’s first outing was at 7 years old with South Asian Spelling Bee, this years champion Mahankali first ever Spelling Bee was participating at the South Asian spelling Bee.

“We were told about the South Asian Spelling Bee by Arvind’s principal an that’s the first time we participated in a spelling bee, it was an experience that helped him all the way through,” said Srinivas Mahankali, Arvind’s father.

At the Scripps Spelling Bee, parents were all praises for the South Asian Spelling platform as they shared their experiences.  Sanjukta Payra, Saymantak’s mother credited the South Asian Spelling Bee as a key component in preparing Saymantak for Scripps. “ South Asian really helped because that was a summer well spent.”

Vijay Reddy, father of Chetan Reddy, added that the South Asian Spelling Bee is a great platform and provides the motivation for the spellers and really gives them an opportunity to interact with others. “It’s a fun thing to do and at the same time very constructive,” he said.

Contrary to popular belief, preparing for a spelling bee is not juts memorization or rote, it actually takes a lot of hard work, strategy and commitment, but ends up giving the spellers a lot of knowledge and teaches them life skills that can be used in all sphere of life.  Moreover participating in a comfortable environment with a group peers and like minded-families is an added advantage says Rahul Walia, Founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee.

Organized by Touchdown Media Inc., the 2013 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee will be conducted in 12 locations across the United States starting on June 16. Regional level events will be held in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Washington DC Metro, New Jersey, New York and Boston. This year Orlando has also been added to the roster. All events will be free to attend and open to the public.

“The Bee has become a critical platform for the youth and we aspire to continue this effort year after year.” adds Walia.

Along with MetLife, airline major Air-India and education company C2Education have also come on board as sponsors for this event. As always, SONY Entertainment Television Asia is the exclusive broadcast partner for the MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee and will be airing the series across 120 countries.

Each competition will begin with a written test of 25 words. The participants must spell 15 or more words correctly to advance to the afternoon oral round, which will be conducted by experienced pronouncers and judges. The top three in the oral round will receive prize money.

The top two spellers of each regional competition will advance to the finals to be held in New Jersey in August. Like last year, MetLife has inducted the $10,000 champion’s scholarship that will be awarded to the winner at the finals.

“ Once again we are proud to be associated with the Bee and this year have planned on a series of episodes highlighting the journey of this event since its inception. SONY will be broadcasting a total of 6 episodes in 2013 giving sponsors, participants and viewers a insightful look at the Bee. We look forward to yet another successful year,” said Jaideep Janakiram, Head of North America, SONY Entertainment Television-Asia.

The countdown is now on for the 2013 season and hopefuls can register online at www.southasianspellingbee.com and who knows, maybe they will be the champion, because as Arvind Mahankali shared about the South Asian Spelling Bee, “ this is where I realized  I have the ability and potential for spelling, “

For a complete schedule, registration and any other information, please visit: www.SouthAsianSpellingBee.com.


South Asian Spelling Bee Alumni SUKANYA ROY Wins Scripps

June 3, 2011

14 year old SUKANYA ROY from South Abington, Pennsylvania, the 2010 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee National First Runner-Up (https://southasianspellingbee.com/results/2010-2/), took home the Scripps National Trophy with her spelling of the championship word: cymotrichous.

It is a matter of pride for the South Asian community that a desi speller has once again clinched the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship. It may be noted, more than half of the 13 finalists in this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee were South Asians, with 4 being South Asian Spelling Bee alumni:

  • Sriram Hathwar – 2010 DC Regional Champ, National Second Runner-Up
  • Arvind Mahankali – 2010 NJ Regional Second Runner-Up
  • Prakash Mishra – 2010 DC Regional Second Runner-Up
  • Sukanya Roy – 2010 NY Regional Champ, National First Runner-Up

“The MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee provides a critical platform for our spellers to evolve and I am really looking forward to seeing all the new talent this year”, says Rahul Walia, CEO, Touchdown Media Inc. and Founder of the South Asian Spelling Bee.”Our heartiest Congratulations to the finalists and their families,” he added.

Another 2010 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee alumni, Arvind Mahankali, placed in the group of the top 5 spellers who survived five perfect rounds.  At only 9 years old two years ago, Arvind was the 2009 MetLife South Asian Spelling Bee National Runner-Up.

Please do not hesitate to reach out for any questions and you can always contact us for additional information.