Finalists from Katy and Tomball Emerge from 2022 Houston Public Media Regional Tiebreaker Bee

The two Co-Champions advance to the national spelling bee held in National Harbor, Maryland.



Kori Lee
Manager, Membership and Communications
Houston Public Media

Printable Version

HOUSTON — (April 8, 2022) — For the second year in a row the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee, the third-largest spelling bee program in the country, was held virtually. More than 150,000 students in grades K-8 from 914 schools and 37 counties participated in this year’s challenging series of school, district and area bees.

2022 Houston Public Media Spelling Bee Co-Champions

66 exceptional spellers qualified for the round one online test and 19 top-scoring spellers advanced to the regional finals via Zoom. After nearly three hours of intense competition, four spellers remained. These phenomenal spellers competed in the Houston Public Media Regional Tiebreaker Bee on Wednesday, March 24, and two Co-Champions emerged.

Kirstin Santos, a 6th grader at the International Leadership of Texas-Katy Middle School, advanced with the winning word Kata which means a set combination of positions and movements performed as an exercise. Attending Creekside Park Junior High School as a 6th grader, Ishika Varipilli’s winning word, Sward, means a portion of ground covered with grass.

These co-champions advance to the 2022 Scripps National Spelling Bee, where they will face spellers from across the country for the national championship. The bee finals will be broadcast live on ION Thursday, June 2.

“In an ongoing effort to continue supporting our community of teachers, students and their families we are grateful for the opportunity to provide various learning materials that help improve their spelling while increasing their vocabularies. We are so proud of our Co-Champions along with all the students who participated this year and hope they use these skills in the near future and remember this experience for many years to come,” said Joshua Adams, Station Manager of Houston Public Media.

For more information on the Houston Public Media Spelling Bee, including speller rankings, visit

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Houston Public Media is a service of the University of Houston and supported with financial gifts from the community. Houston Public Media combines broadcast and digital assets to serve residents of Southeast Texas with trusted local news and entertainment, as well as national programming from NPR and PBS. With a combined weekly audience of more than 1.6 million, Houston Public Media is committed to delivering content that expands minds and possibilities with trusted information.