Twenty elementary and nine middle school students who qualified for the bee by winning their various school competitions met Jan. 11 at South Forsyth High School, 585 Peachtree Parkway.
With the competition lasting for an hour and 45 minutes, families nervously watched as it dwindled down to two finalists in the sixth round.
Eighth-grader Caya Bennett of Otwell Middle incorrectly spelled “territorial,” and gave way for seventh-grader Anish Bikmal of Piney Grove Middle to take first place by correctly spelling “vindictive.”
Fifth-grader Haley Bobersky of Chestatee Elementary came in third place, and all three advanced to the district bee on March 1 at Mabry Middle School in Marietta.
If one of these winners is unable to attend, the runner up, fourth-grader Aadi Karthik of Sharon Elementary, will fill in as the alternate, said the school system’s bee organizer Judi Jenkins.
“I think each year the kids get smarter and the words get harder,” Jenkins said. “With all the technology that kids are exposed to today, it is very energizing and encouraging to see such great spellers.”
Jenkins said she was proud of all the qualifiers and believes they love expressing their competitive side.
“They seemed so sure of themselves and very methodical while spelling the words,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said students were encouraged to look up a study guide through the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but there is no guarantee that words used in the county, district or state bees will be in there.
The students are sure to continue their studies for the district bee in March, where winners there move onto the state round to compete for a spot in the national bee in Washington, D.C.
The following students qualified for the Forsyth County School System’s annual spelling bee.
Big Creek — Abhinav Iyer, fifth grade
Brookwood — Maddy Morales, fifth
Chattahoochee — David Gonzalez, fifth
Chestatee — Haley Bobersky, fifth
Coal Mountain — Chayton Thompson, fifth
Cumming — Calvin Norris, fifth
Daves Creek — Pranati Madala, fifth
Haw Creek — Mrunmayee Lele, fifth
Johns Creek — Rishi Gullapalli, fifth
Kelly Mill — Arianna Cox, fifth
Mashburn — Camryn Coen, fourth
Matt — Jacob Hiltzheimer, fifth
Midway — Shrey Shah, fourth
Sawnee — Amihan Spence, fifth
Settles Bridge — Soumya Patel, fifth
Sharon — Aadi Karthik, fourth
Shiloh Point — Arkesh Ray, fifth
Silver City — Jannai Ahadzi, fifth
Vickery Creek — Tommy LeMoyne, fourth
Whitlow — Armaan Anchala, fifth
Lakeside — Lauren Ward, eighth grade
Liberty — Allen Datu, seventh
Little Mill — Julia Vallier, sixth
North — Hunter Stewart, sixth
Otwell — Caya Bennett, eighth
Piney Grove — Anish Bikmal, seventh
Riverwatch — Julia Chang, sixth
South — Tyler Xu, sixth
Vickery Creek — Hannah Love, eighth
CUMMING, Ga. — The pressure was on for middle and elementary school students who rigorously competed in Forsyth County School System’s annual spelling bee.