CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today congratulated Illinois’ recent finalists in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for their achievements as representatives of the state. Alia Abiad, an eighth grader at McClure Junior High School in Western Springs, recently returned from the prestigious event in Washington, D.C. where she placed fifth. Also recognized was Pranav Sivakumar, who placed second in last year’s Bee. The Governor congratulated Abiad and Sivakumar today at an event in Chicago.
“Alia and Pranav traveled to the National Spelling Bee as representatives of our state and we can truly say that they’ve made Illinois proud,” Governor Quinn said. “These young students showed how important hard work and a good education are for achieving success. I applaud them both and all of the other talented students from across our nation for their efforts in our nation’s spelling bee.”
Through preliminaries and semifinals Abiad correctly spelled fête, sultana, concinnate, misère, quebrada, collyrium, buñuel and brindisi. She advanced to the final twelve from an original 281 from across the nation and several foreign countries.
Abiad enjoys traveling, practicing the violin and also plays in the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras. She previously competed in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee, tying for 19th place. According to her spelling roster, she cites Pope Francis as an inspiration.
Also honored at today’s event was last year’s second place finisher, Pranav Sivakumar. Sivakumar, of Grayslake, Illinois, made a remarkable run in the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee which was his third consecutive appearance in the Bee. Among the words he spelled successfully were: transrhenane, masoola, semainier, faconne and avellaneous. Sivakumar cited his role model to be Astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.
Governor Quinn is committed to properly funding education in Illinois in order to give every child the opportunity for success. The Governor's 5-year budget blueprint includes a historic $6 billion increase in classroom spending over the next five years, doubling the investment in college scholarships for students in need and increasing access to higher education through dual enrollment and early college programs. Over the next five years, the Governor’s plan would bring classroom funding to the highest levels in Illinois history.