Spelling Bee Winner Acclaimed by Chesterfield Mayor

Fifth-grader spells the winning word, which few recognized.

A fifth-grade Chesterfield resident who won the 26th Annual St. Louis Post-Dispatch Spelling Bee in March, was recognized Monday by the City of Chesterfield—by proclaiming the day in his name.

May 7, 2012 was Gokul Venkatachalam Day in Chesterfield, USA.

Gokul Venkatachalam, 11, attends Claymont Elementary School in

Gokul was the only one of 36 contestants who did not misspell a word in the area-wide contest.

The winning word was "telegnosis" which has a "silent g" in pronunciation, so Gokul wasn't guessing when it really counted—he knew the word, he said.

The meaning of the word, which Gokul explained to Chesterfield Patch afterward (although definitions play no role in a spelling bee) means something akin to clairvoyance—getting knowledge at a distance, but not over the telephone or internet!

Councilmember Randy Logan took a good-natured shot at spelling the winning word when Mayor Bruce Geiger called for a challenger to Gokul Monday night, but once again, Gokul came out on top.

"I'm definitely not 'smarter than a fifth-grader,' " Logan quipped, using the title of a popular TV show.

Gokul's parents and little brother shared the spotlight with him as he accepted his proclamation from Chesterfield's mayor Monday, during a regular council meeting after an hour-and-forty-minute public hearing on outlet mall taxes (on a school night.)

Venkatachalam Krishnan is Gokul's father, Sreepriya Vaidynathan his mother, and Mehul Venkatachalam, his little brother.


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