Akash Vukoti

Akash Vukoti is an Indian-American spelling child prodigy and TV personality from San Angelo, Texas. He was the first-ever first grader to qualify for and compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, and first appeared in the NBC TV show Little Big Shots in March 2016.[1][2][3][4][5]

Akash Vukoti
Akash Vukoti 1.png
Vukoti in 2020
Born (2009-05-29) May 29, 2009 (age 13)
Years active2012–present

Academic achievementsEdit

Akash competing at the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee

Vukoti competed in his first spelling bee when he was 2 years old.[6] He was inducted into American Mensa at the age of 3 and became a Davidson Young Scholar[7] at the age of 5.[8] He became the first-ever first grader to compete in the history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee at the age of 6 years, in 2016.[9][10][11][12] He also competed in the 2018, 2019 and 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bees.[13][14][15] Vukoti won his 2022 San Angelo Regional Spelling Bee in February, qualifying him to compete in the National Spelling Bee for the 5th time.[16] He was eliminated from the 2022 National Spelling Bee in the 3rd round with his misspelling of samlet (salmlet).

Television shows & media coveragesEdit

Vukoti was featured on several TV shows, such as Little Big Shots in Season 1 (2016), Season 2 (2017) and Little Big Shots UK (Episode 4) in 2017.[17][18][19][20] He was also featured on the Steve Harvey talk show,[21][22] Jimmy Kimmel Live!,[23][24][25] and The Preachers[26] in 2016. He appeared as a guest on the Harry show in 2017.[27] Akash was also featured on The Kelly Clarkson Show on November 10, 2020.[28]

On September 25, 2018, Vukoti was announced as one of the celebrities who would compete on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors,[29][30] a spin-off of Dancing with the Stars. His professional partner was Kamri Peterson and the couple were mentored by Witney Carson. The trio were eliminated 7th from the competition on November 18, 2018.

Vukoti was interviewed live on CNN International from Hong Kong and CTV from Canada in 2016.[31] He was interviewed on Australia’s The Morning Show of Seven Network in 2019[32] and again in 2021,[33] and by TV9 Telugu in Hyderabad, India on January 14, 2020.[34][35] He runs his popular YouTube channel,[36] which has over 470,000 subscribers and has also done commercials for IBM,[37] Amazon Kindle[38] and the Scripps National Spelling Bee.[39]

Documentaries and filmsEdit

Vukoti has been featured in HBO and BBC documentaries. Episode 231 of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel titled “Brain Games and Mental Athletes” featured Vukoti and aired on June 21, 2016, on HBO.[40] The BBC documentary The Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed showcased Vukoti's talent in the episode "Learn" and aired on October 9, 2017, on BBC Two.[41]

He has been featured in the award-winning documentary film Spelling the Dream,[42][43][44][45][46] which released on Netflix on June 3, 2020, in over 190 countries. The film has generated positive reviews from around the world.[47][48][49][50][51][52]



Year Title Distributor Country Release Date Ref.
2017 The Human Body: Secrets of Your Life Revealed BBC UK October 9 [41]
2020 Spelling the Dream Netflix Worldwide June 3 [47][43]


Year Title Channel Country Notes Ref.
2016 Little Big Shots NBC USA Season 1, Episode 1; Aired March 8

Season 1, Episode 9; Top 10 Moments; Aired May 8

2016 Steve Harvey Syndication USA Aired March 11 [21]
2016 Jimmy Kimmel Live! ABC USA Aired June 2 [23][24][25]
2016 Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel HBO USA Brain Games; Aired June 21 [40]
2016 The Preachers Syndication USA Aired July 11 [26]
2017 Little Big Shots UK ITV UK Aired March 29 [20]
2017 Little Big Shots NBC USA Season 2, Episode 7; Aired April 23 [19]
2017 Harry Syndication USA Aired April 27 [27]
2018 Dancing with the Stars: Juniors ABC USA Eliminated 7th in the 6th week; Aired October 7 to November 18 [29][30][54]
2020 Akashamanta TV9 Telugu India Television special; Aired January 13 [55]
2020 The Kelly Clarkson Show Syndication USA Season 2; Aired November 10 [28]


Vukoti receiving the Global Child Prodigy Award from Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Kailash Sathyarthi
Year Association Award Category Place Ref.
2017 Telugu Association of North America Special Recognition Award Spelling & Language St. Louis [56]
2017 North America Telugu Society[57] Honorary Title

Dhaarana Vaamana

Special Honor Chicago [58]
2020 Global Child Prodigy Awards[59] Global Child Prodigy Award 2020 Language New Delhi [60][61]

Personal lifeEdit

Akash Vukoti is the son of Chandrakala Jandyam and Dr. Krishna M Vukoti, who immigrated to the United States from Andhra Pradesh, India. Akash has an elder sister Amrita, who is also a Davidson Young Scholar and a member of Mensa.[62] Both Amrita and Akash Vukoti competed in the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee.[63][64]


Vukoti has donated to various non-profit organizations like Children's Miracle Network in San Angelo, Wikipedia, Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund, Telangana CM Relief Fund, Water.org and Kerala Floods Relief Fund. He has also donated to Bharat Ke Veer,[65] an Indian government initiative supporting the families of deceased Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles personnel. Vukoti has also donated to non-profit organizations the American Red Cross Society and the Government of India's PM CARES Fund to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.[66]


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  2. ^ French, Megan (May 26, 2016). "Scripps National Spelling Bee's Youngest Contestant Akash Vukoti Was Too C-U-T-E: See Him in Action". US Magazine.
  3. ^ Weller, Chris (March 30, 2016). "Meet the 6-year-old genius who will steal the show at this year's national spelling bee". Business Insider.
  4. ^ Moore, Jack (May 26, 2016). "This Six-Year-Old Was the First Star of the 2016 National Spelling Bee". GQ.
  5. ^ Why 6-Year-Old Spelling Bee Whiz Akash Vukoti Became a Global Sensation - POPSUGAR, retrieved 2019-12-08
  6. ^ "MastiSpell". MastiSpell 2012.
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  9. ^ Shapira, Ian. ""A 6-year-old charms the National Spelling Bee before getting eliminated"". Washington Post.
  10. ^ Farrington, Dana. ""6-Year-Old May Be Out Of Spelling Bee, But This Kid Is A Winner". NPR". NPR.
  11. ^ "Vukoti wins San Angelo Area Spelling Bee". San Angelo. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  12. ^ Gaitan, Michelle. "San Angelo Spelling Bee names new winner".
  13. ^ Kirkl, Justin (2018-05-31). "The Kids Are A-L-R-I-G-H-T: Inside the Journey to Scripps' National Spelling Bee". Esquire. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  14. ^ NUCKOLS, BEN. "Speller balances bee with reality TV, social media stardom".
  15. ^ "Akash Vukoti takes champion title at spelling bee". ConchoValleyHomepage.com. 2021-03-20. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  16. ^ Liebergen, Stephanie. "Scripps National Spelling Bee Returns After Pandemic Pause". Newsy.
  17. ^ a b "Little Big Shots | Steve Harvey and Akash Funny Spelling Bee | Season 1 2016 - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
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  19. ^ a b Paschal, Nick (April 24, 2017). "Steve Harvey Schools Spelling Bee Champ on 'Words From the Hood'". Yahoo.
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  21. ^ a b "Precocious local speller drawing national attention, studying hard". gosanangelo.com. March 12, 2016.
  22. ^ Gowra, Nikhita (2017-05-02). "W-o-n-d-e-r kid". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
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  33. ^ The Morning Show 2021 | Australia TV Show on Channel 7 | Funny Interview, retrieved 2021-03-06
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  43. ^ a b Goodrich, Barry (April 3, 2018). "What It Takes to W-I-N". clevelandmagazine.com/.
  44. ^ "Breaking The Bee". clevelandfilm.org.
  45. ^ Raj, Yashwant (May 27, 2018). "Breaking the bee: Indian kids are spelling out a new sport in America". Hindustan Times.
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  56. ^ "TANA Patrika - January 2018". drive.google.com. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  57. ^ "NATS WORLD - North America Telugu Society". NATS WORLD.
  58. ^ "NATS Akshara Deepika - June 2017". drive.google.com. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  59. ^ "Global Child Prodigy Awards - Official Website". March 2, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-03-02.
  60. ^ Rathore, Reena. "Young Indian American Geniuses Honored with '2020 Global Child Prodigy Awards'". India West.
  61. ^ Jha, Ankur Kumar (2019-12-31). "KIIT Presents Global Child Prodigy Awards 2020 Honoring Top 100 Prodigies". thelogicalindian.com. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
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  65. ^ "India's Bravehearts | Bharat Ke Veer". bharatkeveer.gov.in.
  66. ^ Vukoti, Akash. "Giving Back to Society". AKASH VUKOTI. Retrieved 2020-09-16.