11 year-old from Gwinnett captures Georgia’s spelling championship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  March 17, 2017

ATLANTA –– They came from all corners of state; from Fannin County to Twiggs and Glynn to Thomas and points in between -- 20 spellers ranging from 10 to14 - years-old, all with the same goal in mind – becoming Georgia’s next spelling champion.

After over 200 words through 23 rounds, 11-year-old Abhiram Kapaganty from Burnette Elementary in Gwinnett County emerged as the winner of the 56th Annual Georgia Association of Educators State Spelling Bee. He will now represent Georgia in the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships in National Harbor, Maryland., May 28 - June 3, 2017.

In the 20th round it was narrowed down to Abhiram and 13-year-old Jahnvi Bhagat from Daniell Middle School in Cobb County. After both of them missed word in rounds 20-22, in the 23rd Jahnvi received the word "vorlage" but spelled it with an "f" instead of "v." Abhiram then received the word "schipperke," that he spelled correctly. He then received the word "wedel" which he quickly dispatched to become Georgia's 2017 spelling champion. .

Abhiram was just like any other middle-schooler in his response to winning. "I feel really good about going to nationals. I have never been to the Washington area." He was also concerned about the amount of attendees who were in previous bees. "I thought I wasn't going to win because so many others were in the spelling bee last year."

“Congratulations to all of these great young people who impressively represented their respective schools and communities in today's contest,” said GAE President Dr. Sid Chapman. “They, their parents, teachers, coaches and everyone who directly or indirectly helped them or cheered them on, should be very, very proud. Our thoughts and prayers are with Abhiram and his family as they travel to Maryland to represent Georgia and the national championship.”

In addition to his first place trophy and an all expense paid trip to the national championship and $1,000 (GAE), Abhiram also received an iPad Mini and a $100 Amazon gift card (Horace Mann Insurance Companies), a Kindle (Best Buy of Cumming, GA), a dictionary (Merriam-Webster), a one-year online subscription (Encyclopaedia Britannica), one $100 U.S. Savings Bond (Samuel L. Sugarman Award) and a GAE Bee Champion lapel pin. Jahnvi, as runner-up, took home a second place trophy and $500 (GAE), and also received an iPad Mini along with a $50 Amazon gift card (Horace Mann Insurance Companies) and a dictionary (Merriam-Webster). In addition, all contestants will receive a GAE State Bee lapel pin.

You can continue to follow our champion through the Scripps National Champions at #GAEBee17.

View contest pics at:

Order of elimination-County/word/Round:

Aylah Birks - Twiggs - Quesadilla 4
Za'Miriya Sneed - Thomas - Junco 4
Brandon Webb - Calhoun City - Succotash 5
Jon Liu - Lowndes - Embarcadero 6
Gio Christian Ramos - Chatham - Vapidity 6
Krish Modi - Thomaston/Upson - Solace 8
Thurman Blake, Jr. - Clayton - Hoick 8
Rebecca Kenny - Houston - Exigible 9
Matthew Spalding - Fulton - Minestrone 9
Griffin Lee - Glynn - Panary 9
Aditi Shankar - DeKalb - Nisi 9
Charlie Gandy - Cobb - Epistrophe 9
Jet Rawls - Newton - Sanicle 9
Chloe Carter - Fannin - Hircine 9
Arul Selvakumar - Fulton - Vireo 9
Vaibhav Mishra - Laurens - Fluoroscope 10
Sophie Fang - Cobb - Reniform 16
Aya Salma Haddad - Gwinnett - Autophagy 20
Jahnvi Bhagat - Cobb - Vorlage 23
State Champion
Abhiram Kapaganty - Gwinnett Wedel 23