ATLANTA –– Fourteen-year-old Ananya Augustine from Eagle's Landing Middle School in Henry County was declared the winner of the 61st Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) State Spelling Bee Championship after completing a Zoom spell-off with runner-up, twelve-year-old Nimal Murugan from South Forsyth Middle School in Forsyth County. Both were in a tie-breaker after scoring a perfect 50/50 on the initial online written test. Both will take part in the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships being held in National Harbor, MD, June 1-2.
In the second round of the spell-off, Nimal unfortunately misspelled "pastitsio" by adding an extra "i." As is customary, Ananya needed to spell her word "Nicoise" correctly, which she did, and then an additional word. Ananya then correctly spelled "tristeza" to become Georgia's 2022 State Spelling Bee Champion. Ananya was also Georgia's 2021 spelling bee champion.
Once again, the Scripps platform provided for an electronic, written test utilizing 50 randomly selected words that had not been on a previous study list. Each of the 20 finalists took the thirty-minute timed test that consisted of 25 vocabulary and 25 spelling questions.
The twenty spellers ranging from 9- to 14-years-old, all started out on their computers at 11 am from Atlanta City and Bartow, Paulding, Forsyth, Gwinnett, Fulton, Henry, Monroe, Clarke, Bibb, Twiggs, Chatham, Dougherty, and Clay counties. All had the same goal in mind – becoming Georgia’s next spelling champion.
GAE President Lisa Morgan said, "GAE applauds not only our 20 finalists, runner-up, and state champion, but all of our students across the state who despite the challenges of this difficult past year, still made time to participate in their school, district, and region bees. We extend our congratulations to every one of them. As we look forward to the national bee, we know both Ananya and Nimal will put forth their best effort and we will be cheering them on all the way."
All contestants will receive a GAE State Bee participation lapel pin, ribbon, and participation certificate.
In addition to her first place trophy and $1,000 (GAE), Ananya also received an iPad Mini and a $50 Amazon gift card (Horace Mann Insurance Companies), a $50 Best Buy card (Cumming, GA), a one-year online subscription to Britannica Online Premium, a 2022 U.S. Mint Proof Set (Samuel L. Sugarman Award), a one-year online subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online, and a GAE Bee Champion lapel pin.
Nimal, as runner-up, will receive a second place trophy and $500 (GAE), an iPad Mini and a $50 Amazon gift card (Horace Mann Insurance Companies), a $50 Best Buy card (Cumming, GA), a one-year online subscription to Britannica Online Premium, a 2022 U.S. Mint Proof Set (Samuel L. Sugarman Award), and a one-year online subscription to Merriam-Webster Unabridged Online.
Both will also receive an all-expense paid trip to the national championships in National Harbor, MD.