Phoenixville Native, Host of National Spelling Bee Relates to Pressure Contestants Face

Hard work and his parents’ commitment to education have spelled success for ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi, now two-time host of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Image via ESPN.

With an upbringing molded by Indian immigrants who came to America with nothing, Phoenixville native and ESPN broadcaster Kevin Negandhi can relate to the hard work that has gotten spelling bee champions to this year’s 90th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, which he is hosting for the second year.

“I understand what every one of these kids are going through, the pressure they are dealing with, and what the priorities are in the family,” Negandhi said in a Billy Penn report by Dan Levy. “The only way I could explain it to people to understand — especially with the Indian-American dominance the last nine years — there are many things relatable that what these kids go through to what every American kid goes through.

“Because every American kid who is with a traveling baseball team, AAU soccer, AAU basketball, traveling football team, you are involved in practice daily; many times it’s your parents taking you to competition after competition.”

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In his own life, Negandhi had to do homework for his parents after homework from school, and the example they set for him has left a lasting impression.

“I take great pride in breaking stereotypes, but I look at what my mom and what my dad did; they came here with nothing,” he said. “And they created a culture in our house to follow that, honestly, has been the backbone for me whenever I need it.”

Read more about Negandhi’s home life and the all-star spelling bee he’s hosting on Billy Penn here.

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