Notre Dame 8th grader wins Oakland County spelling bee

Rahul Reddy, an eighth-grader making his fourth trip to the Oakland Schools Scripps Regional Spelling Bee, won the competition on Sunday, March 18, by correctly spelling “notabilia,” which means "things worthy of note."

As champion, he gets an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in late May.

Reddy, a student at Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy in Pontiac, said he didn’t study much this time.

“I didn’t think I was going to win,” said Reddy, a Rochester resident.

Runner-up was Annabella Evangelista, a seventh-grader at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Farmington.

Reddy out-spelled 78 other contestants in fifth through eighth grades in just under four hours.

Despite his insistence that he didn’t do much preparation in this trip to the bee, Reddy did have some advice for future contestants.

“The most important thing is to know the rules,” he said, such as being aware that contestants can ask to have the word repeated, ask for its origin or meaning, or to have it used in a sentence.

“The language of origin always helps.” he said.

In addition to the trip to the national bee, Reddy wins:

• A one-year subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged

• A one-year membership in Encyclopedia Britannica Online Premium

• The Samual Louis Sugarman Award, a 2018 U.S. Mint Proof Set donated by Jay Sugarman in honor of his father.

Spellers get to the countywide competition by winning a bee at their schools.

Reddy joined two other spellers this year who had been in previous countywide bees.

Another previous champion had also made several trips to the county bee.

Divya Aggarwal, who won in Oakland County two years ago, made it to the finals at the national level.

“I think it was a really great experience. It showed me there are bigger things than my city, my state,” said Aggarwal, now a sophomore at Troy High School.

She said she isn’t sure of her future career plans but is confident that all the work she put into language study will be an asset.

“Language is really important no matter what field you go into.”

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school's home page at