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Niles Elementary 5th-grader wins state spelling bee

A Fremont 5th-grade student won the 2013 California State Elementary Spelling Bee on Saturday in Stockton.

Sahir Qureshi, 10, went through 13 rounds before correctly spelling “prosciutto” to take home the top prize. Sahir, a Niles Elementary student and fellow Fremont student Anish Punaroor, a 6th grader from Parkmont Elementary, represented Alameda County at the contest.

Sahir did not misspell a single word, correctly spelling other words such as “tiramisu” and “truculent.”

He bested 60 spellers from 30 counties statewide.  He is a Boy Scout, swims competitively, plays the piano, has a band called “Game Over,” and is forming a robotics team.

Paige Johnson, a Niles Elementary teacher who taught Sahir when he was in the 3rd grade, accompanied Sahir’s family to the competition.

“He is everything you would ever want in a child,” Johnson said. “He’s bright and curious but also sweet and extremely modest. He even thanked his little brother for helping him.”

Chris DeBenedetti