Information and Instructions for the 2023-24 GAE Spelling Bee
Dear Spelling Bee Coordinator:
The Georgia State Spelling Bee Committee of the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) has been planning for another successful spelling bee program for the school year. GAE is again proud to offer Georgia students an opportunity to exhibit their proficiency in the art of spelling and, just as importantly, vocabulary. If a contestant is successful at the school system level, then he/she will have the opportunity to advance to the region competition. The region winners and runners-up compete in the state spelling bee with the state winner and runner-up advancing to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
This school year, the Scripps National Spelling Bee enrollment period begins August 22, 2023. Early Bird School Enrollment Fee is $180/$135/$180 (Schools/Single Family Homeschools/Coop-Homeschool Associations) from now until to October 31, 2023. Beginning November 1, 2023, the fee is $199/$154/$199 (Schools/Single Family Homeschools/Coop-Homeschool Associations). GAE will end enrollment as of December 31, 2023 (NOTE: for planning purposes, Georgia’s registration closes (Dec. 31) before Scripps, which is Jan. 31, 2024).
For students to be eligible to compete in the 2024 Scripps National Spelling Bee, their schools/homeschools must be enrolled, and they must have paid the Scripps’ enrollment fee by the state deadline of December 31, 2023. You can enroll online with Scripps at www.spellingbee.com. If enrolled by September 29, 2023, you will receive a prize code from Encyclopedia Britannica.
To ensure a successful local spelling bee, it is important for you to utilize the products and resources accessible at https://tinyurl.com/order-GAE-Bee-Items and to follow the GAE official procedures, rules, and regulations for spelling bees, which are listed on pages 7-12. To access Georgia’s State Spelling Bee Procedures, Rules, and Regulations (PRR) go to http://www.gae.org/spellingbee. NOTE: According to Scripps, their spelling bee rules apply only to the competition at the national level; therefore, please refer to Georgia’s rules in this PRR.
Please note that we are continuing to emphasize the need to implement a minimum of one vocabulary round at both your school and county bees and spell-offs. Vocabulary has now become an equal factor in how far state representatives advance at nationals. Remember, schools can access vocabulary and spelling resources via their Scripps’ registration that can then be shared with participating contestants. GAE is also providing resource links at www.gae.org/spellingbee. GAE is now implementing vocabulary rounds at both the region and state levels. We feel our students must begin to learn their vocabulary as well as the actual dynamics of spelling (rather than just simple rote word memorization).The spelling bee consultants/committee and I hope you have a great year planning and implementing your
Susan Tallant, Chair
GAE State Spelling Bee Committee
13-year-old Sai Lakkimsetti is Georgia's 2023 Spelling Bee Champion
They came from all corners of state; Chatham, Tatnall, Irwin, Walker, Forsyth, Columbia, and Muscogee Counties 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 100 words over 20 rounds, 13-year-old Sai Lakkimsetti from Stallings Island Middle School in Columbia County emerged as the winner of the 62nd Annual Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) State Spelling Bee. He, along with runner-up, 13-year-old Matthew Baber from Rising Star Middle School in Fayette County, will now represent Georgia in the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships in National Harbor, Maryland, May 28-June 2, 2023.
In the 20th round Matthew received the word "palmyra" but unfortunately mispelled it. Sai then was given the word "spumoni" which he spelled correctly and under the rules for the final two spellers, had to then spell an additional word correctly. That word was "nyctalopia," which he slowly took his time to spell correctly and was crowned the 62nd and 2023 Georgia State Spelling Bee champion.
Sai, said he's really excited and grateful for all of his support and to be in this posiiton. And when asked about the competition, he said, "I'll really need to ramp up my preparation."
Matthew, for his part, said he will have to study very hard to succeed at nationals, but "it's probably going to be fun and it will just be great to be there."
"Congratulations to both Sai and Matthew and all of these great young spellers. It is a joy to see how far they’ve come and the self-confidence they've exhibited in handling the pressure and competition. And we of course wish the best of luck to both their families as they travel to Maryland and the national championship.”
GAE President Lisa Morgan
Sai, in addition to a first place trophy and an all expense paid trip to the national championship and $1,000 (GAE), took home an iPad Mini (Horace Mann Insurance Companies), a Kindle (Best Buy of Cumming, GA), an online subscription 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.
Matthew took home a second place trophy and $1,000 (GAE), and received an all expense paid trip to the national championship and $1,000 (GAE), an iPad Mini (Horace Mann Insurance Companies), an online subscription dictionary (Merriam-Webster), a one-year online subscription (Encyclopaedia Britannica), and one $100 U.S. Savings Bond (Samuel L. Sugarman Award).
In addition, all contestants received a GAE State Bee lapel pin.
Pictures of the Champion & Runner-Up
GAE Bee Information
Bee Study Resources
The GAE Spelling Bee Committee does not furnish any practice list of words to use for your speller. The ultimate recommended guide is using Webster’s 3rd New Unabridged Online International Dictionary as a study reference (http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com/). Your school can access any Scripps study material once it has enrolled and has the receipt of the enrollment fee. Those materials may be downloaded and printed for the school winner for ongoing study.
For additional popular study sites search the internet for Bee study resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does my school need to do for its students to participate in Georgia’s spelling bee?
A: In order for a school’s students to participate in the spelling bee and have an opportunity to move on to the region, state and national competitions, that school must register itself and pay a registration fee to Scripps. The Scripps site is www.spellingbee.com.
Q. Why are the final rounds different that at the Scripps National Spelling Bee?
A. The rule change was created out of concerns regarding the final two spellers and the elimination process of the bee. We want to give each speller a fair experience in this process. So by changing the elimination process, each speller is given the best possible chance to continue in the bee until the competition is narrowed to the final two spellers.
Q. Do the schools and the county/system bees have to follow the rule change?
A. While we do not delegate the bees below the region level, we highly recommend everyone abide by these rule changes. Should a problem arise at the lower level bees and the rules were not followed, we (the state committee) would be unable to assist in a fair manner. The rules are revisited each year with much concern and thought. All levels participating in the State Spelling Program should be using the rules set forth by the State Spelling Bee Committee.
Q: Do the rules differ between region/state level and national competitions?
A: Yes. It’s important to note that Georgia’s rules differ slightly from Scripps’ rules and Scripps emphasizes that state rules may be different in their information. For the rules that pertain to running Georgia’s bees, please refer to the Procedures, Rules and Regulations manual that can be found in the related links at www.gae.org/spellingbee.
Q: What grades are eligible?
A: Any student who is in the third through eighth grade during current Bee school year is eligible.
Q: Why is vocabulary now included and stressed so highly?
A: At the Scripps National Spelling Bee, vocabulary is an important part of the competition, both orally and written. Scripps introduced an emphasis on vocabulary during the 2012 Bee. The purpose was to ensure not only correct spelling but understanding the definitions of words. So now we include vocabulary rounds at the regional and state levels, and highly recommend at least one, if not more rounds, are implemented at the school and county levels. It is important to utilize the resources from SNSB that are included and available trough their website after registration.
Q: Where can I get practice/study material for my child or students?
A: The GAE Spelling Bee Committee does not furnish any practice list of words to use for your speller. The ultimate recommended guide is using Webster’s 3 rd New International Dictionary Unabridged Online as a study reference. It is available at: http://unabridged.merriamwebster.com/. Also, study information such as Scripps’ Spell It! study guide is available for download by your school at www.spellingbee.com. Your school can access it and other material once they have enrolled with Scripps and have the receipt of the enrollment fee. Those materials may be downloaded and printed for the school winner for ongoing study.
Q: My speller won the bee in his/her classroom. What is the next level of competition for my speller?
A: The levels of advancement are as follows: classroom, school, county/system, region, and finally state.
Q: When and where is my county/system bee being held?
A: First check your county/system calendar for the date, place and time of your bee. If the information is not posted on the yearly calendar, then call the central office and find out who is in charge of your local bee. Usually the English Language Arts department will have that information.
Q: How will I find out information about my next level of competition for my speller?
A: At each level, the bee coordinator should forward your information to the coordinator at the next level of competition. In the event you do not receive information regarding the next level of competition, contact the GAE office at [email protected] or your region consultant for assistance.
Q: My speller is the alternate at his/her competition. Does my speller need to attend the competition although he/she is not participating?
A: The attendance of the speller is entirely up to the speller and the parent. However, if one of the qualifying spellers does not show up there is a chance the alternate would then be allowed to participate.
Q: How do spellers advance to the state level?
A: Only 20 spellers advance to the state level. The top two spellers from each of the nine bee regions, plus the top two spellers from the GISA [private schools] bee, will make up the 20 spellers at the state level bee.
Q: I homeschool my child(ren). How do I get him, her or them involved?
A: Whether you are an individual homeschool or part of a homeschool group, your child can participate in the Bee. Please go to www.gae.org/spellingbee and download the Procedures, Rules and Regulations (PRR) manual. It will have all of the information you need on how to participate. Look especially at page 5. You will have to register and pay a fee through Scripps either as an individual household or group. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your State Spelling Bee Consultant for your Region (see pages vii or 23 in PRR) or contact GAE at [email protected]
Q: As a charter school, how do I participate?
A: By the definition of the Georgia State Department of Education, charters are public schools. Therefore, all charters will participate in the county/school system level bee for which local school board they continue to report. The charter should be in contact with the central office of that system to attain county/system level bee information, e.g. superintendent’s office. The charter will hold its own school bee to determine who moves on the county/system level. When registering on Scripps, please use the PUBLIC designation.
Q: Am I able to charge admission to my Bee?
A. No fees should be charged for participation in or admission to a Bee. The only fees involved are the eligibility fees paid to Scripps by each school.
Q: How can I order the words for my county/system/spell-off Bee?
A. You can order the words for your county/system/spell-off Bee by visiting gae.org/spellingbee and clicking on the link "Bee Products and Resources."
Q. What do the following terms mean?
- Advocate: the representative for the participating student who has been designated to lodge a disagreement should there be one. This person could be a teacher, parent (or other family member), counselor, or family friend. This will be the only person allowed to discuss an issue on behalf of the student.
- Region: refers to one of the 10 GAE Bee Regions which can be found on pages 25-26 in the GAE Procedures, Rules and Regulations (PRR) manual (visit www.gae.org/spellingbee). The county you are in will be in either one of the 9 GAE regions, or your school will be a member of the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) and you will participate within their statewide region (see contact info on either page vii or 23 of the PRR).
- Finalist: when your Bee has come down to the final two spellers, those are your two finalists. The rules change at that point (see pages 11 and 12 in the PRR).
- State Bee Consultant: a member of the GAE State Spelling Bee Committee each of whom has responsibility for one of the 9 GAE Bee regions and the GISA statewide Bee region. They are in direct charge of your region level Bees and are your points of contact for sending Region Qualifier forms for those winners attending the region level bees. They also serve to lend advice and guidance to help ensure your local and county/system/spell-off level Bees run smoothly. (See pages vii and 23 in the PRR.)