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Press Release

20 finalists from around the state to compete for Georgia’s top speller

The student who emerges from this competition will be crowned the Georgia Association of Educators' (GAE) State Spelling Bee champion and will represent the state in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the Washington, D.C. area, May 28-June 2, 2023.
Published: March 14, 2023

ATLANTA -- If someone asked you to spell "anciency," "geikia," or "ubiety," would you know how, or know what they meant?  Chances are your spell check or ChatGPT wouldn’t know these either. Well get ready, because these and other “everyday” words could be gliding from the tongues of 20 of Georgia's finest spellers during the Georgia Association of Educators' (GAE) State Spelling Bee. Celebrating its 62nd year, the Bee will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, March 17, 2023 at Georgia State University’s Student Center’s Senate Ballroom.

The following are the nine [GAE] regions and the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) winners and runners-up:

Bee Region/System       Name                            Grade/School                      Age  

1 W/ Walker                     Emma Edgeworth         8/ Saddle Ridge Middle         14

1 R/ Whitfield                   Lucy Brown                   8/ Valley Point Middle            13

2 W/ Hall                          Andrew Boyd                8/ North Hall Middle               14

2 R/ Forsyth                    Yazhini Murugan            5/ Mashburn Elementary       10   

3 W/ Gwinnett                 Anusha Chavar              5/ Riverside Elementary        10

3 R/ Gwinnett                 Sriniket Nuthalapati        8/ North Gwinnett Middle       13

4 W/ Atlanta                   Grayson Trawick             8/ KIPP STRIVE Academy     13

4 R/ DeKalb                    Abhiroop Banerjee         5/ Vanderlyn Elementary        11 

5 W/ Fayette                   Matthew Baber              7/ Rising Star Middle              13

5 R/ Clayton                   Uwarre Olaye                 5/ Morrow Elementary            11

6 W/ Houston                 Mishon Hyacinthe-Bynes8/ Northside Middle               13

6 R/ Muscogee              Sonali Sahai                    7/ Richards Middle                 12

7 W/ Columbia               Sai Lakkimsetti                8/ Stallings Island Middle       13

7 R/ Clarke                     Andreas Dillies                8/ Clarke Middle                     13

8 W/ Chatham                Peniel Nti                        5/ Southwest Elementary        11 

8 R/ Tattnall                   Joseph Banks                  8/ North Tattnall Middle           13

9 W/ Irwin                      Rhiana Escobar               8/ Irwin County Middle             14

9 R/ Valdosta City          Wynter Lawson               7/Valdosta Early College Acad13

GISA W/ Martinez          Ayanna Khiani                 7/ Augusta Prep Day School   12

GISA R/ Mt. Berry         Nina Mayer                      8/ Berry College Middle           14

The student who emerges from this inspiring competition will be crowned the Georgia Association of Educators' (GAE) State Spelling Bee champion and will represent the state in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the Washington, D.C. area, May 28-June 2, 2023.

GAE President Lisa Morgan said, “We at GAE consider all twenty of these students champions. We congratulate them, as well as their families and supporters, who have given so much of their time to help put them in the position to become a state champion.  We also want to congratulate all of our state's students who participated beginning with their classroom and school level bees. The spelling bees provide students with an opportunity to engage in academic competition, increase their levels of sportsmanship, and enjoy their participation along the way."  

The Bee, once again, will have the following accomplished and experienced panel of judges and callers: 


  • Miriam Green - Special Education English, Sequoyah High School, Cherokee County
  • Linda Hitchcock - Retired Educator, Science-West Bainbridge Middle School, Decatur County
  • Alan Hochbaum - Math Special Education teacher, Stripling Elementary, Gwinnett County
  • David Muschell - Retired educator, English Department of Georgia College, Milledgeville
  • Cheryl Sarvis, Retired Principal, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Kathy Sinclair, Investigator, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, Cartersville
  • Cora Tallant - Employee Engagement and HR Lead at UrbanTrans
  • Adam Waxman - CEO, Onepath, LLC


  • The Reverend Greg Tallant, Rector, Holy Trinity Parish, Decatur, Georgia
  • Sara T. Cushing, Professor, Applied Linguistics, & ESL, Georgia State University

GAE would like to thank the following businesses and organizations for their contributions: Encyclopedia Britannica (1-year online subscription), Merriam Webster, Inc. (1-year subscription to Webster’s Unabridged Online), and the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award (2023 U.S. Mint Proof Set [winner]). GAE will be providing trophies and $1,000 respectively for the winner and runner-up as well as paid expenses to the Scripps National Bee for both. We again would like to thank the Horace Mann Insurance Companies who is providing iPad Minis for the winner and runner-up. And as always, thanks to Georgia State University for its continued support throughout the years.

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The Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) is Georgia's premier professional association for public school employees. We are a member-led organization supporting students and educators in Georgia's public schools through grassroots organizing, legislative advocacy, and legal action.