Top spellers from around the state to compete for “best” speller

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  March 13, 2017

ATLANTA -- If someone asked you to spell "chaenomeles," "gemeinde," or "paternoster," would you know how, or know what they meant?  Chances are your spell check wouldn’t know these either. Well get ready, because these and other “everyday” words will be gliding from the tongues of 20 of Georgia's finest spellers during the Georgia Association of Educators' (GAE) State Spelling Bee.  Celebrating its 56th year, the Bee will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, March 17, 2017, at Georgia State University's Student Center's Senate Ballroom.

The following are the nine [GAE] districts’ and the Georgia Independent School Association's (GISA) winners (W) and runners-up (R):

Bee District/System Name  Grade, School  Age
1 W / Fannin Chloe Carter 7 / Fannin County Middle 13
1 R / Calhoun City Brandon Webb 6 / Calhoun  Middle 11
2 W / Cobb Sophie Fang 5/ Tritt Elementary 10
2 R / Cobb Jahnvi Bhagat 8 /Daniell Middle 13
3 W / Gwinnett Aya Salma Haddad 8 / Al Falah Academy 13
3 R/ Gwinnett Abhiram Kapaganty 5 / Burnette Elementary 11
4 W / DeKalb Aditi Shankar 7 / Druid Hills Middle 12
4 R / Fulton Matthew Spalding 7 / Haynes Bridge Middle 13
5 W / Newton Jet Rawls 8 / Indian Creek Middle 13
5 R / Clayton Thurman A. Blake Jr. 8 / Eddie White Academy 14
6 W / Thomaston/Upson Krish Modi 8 / Upson-Lee  Middle 14
6 R  / Houston Rebecca Kenny 8 / Bonaire Middle 13
7 W/ Laurens Vaibhav Mishra 7/ West Lauren Middle 12
7 R / Twiggs Aylah Birks 8/ Twiggs County High/          Middle 13
8 W / Chatham Gio Christian Ramos 5 / J.G. Smith Elementary 10
8 R / Glynn Griffin Lee 6 / Glynn Middle 12
9 W / Lowndes Jon Liu 7 / Hahira Middle School 12
9 R / Thomas Za’Miriya Sneed 8 / Thomas County Middle 14
GISA- W / Fulton Arul Selvakumar 8 / Fulton Science Academy 14
GISA – R / Fulton Charlie Gandy 5/  Mt. Bethel Christian Academy 11


The one student who emerges from this challenging contest 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 Washington, D.C., May 28 - June 3, 2017.

“After 56 years of spelling accomplishments by our young people, this never gets old,” said GAE President Dr. Sid Chapman. “The mix of new and returning participants truly makes this one of the great contests and highlights so far in these young people's lives. They, their parents, teachers and coaches all deserve a hand in regards to this achievement. And the same goes for all of the children at all of our schools that participated in this journey at every level. Our hope it that just taking part in the process has taught them something about sportsmanship and that oftentimes it’s just about enjoying the journey.”

GAE State Spelling Bee Committee Chairman Richard McIntyre also wants them to relax as much as possible and take in in the moment.  “For 19 of these superb spellers, this will be the culmination of a journey begun over last summer.  For one, it means a trip of a lifetime to the national championship. The dedication and perseverance all of them have shown to get to this point already makes them all champions."

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


  • Mr. Barry Gray, Scholastic Chess Director, Unconditional Love for Children, Inc.
  • Mr. Arthur George, Retired Educator, Fulton County Schools
  • Ms. Cheryl Sarvis, Retired Principal, Atlanta City Schools
  • Ms. Ernestine C. Mack, Retired, DeKalb District Attorney’s Office


  • The Reverend Greg Tallant, Rector, Holy Trinity Parish, Decatur, Georgia
  • Professor Sara Cushing, Applied Linguistics, 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.(Webster’s 3rd New International and Collegiate dictionaries), the Samuel Louis Sugarman Award ($100 Savings Bond), and Best Buy of Cumming, GA - Store # 1408 (Kindle). GAE will be providing trophies and $1,000 and $500 respectively for the winner and runner-up as well as paid expenses to the national for the winner. We again would like to thank the Horace Mann Insurance Companies who will provide an Ipad Mini for the winner and runner-up.

Parking can be found at the M Lot across the street from the center and at other lots in the vicinity.  There is no flash photography during the bee.  Additional instructions will be given prior to the beginning of the bee.