ATLANTA – Normally this time of year, it's announced that we will soon hear words such as “devitrification,” “jotnian,” and “reascendancy,” glide from the tongues of our 20 state bee championship finalists. This year it will be from their computer clicks.
The challenges that COVID-19 has presented in Georgia’s public school classrooms, by association, has also made this past year challenging for those participating in their local and county spelling bees. The Scripps National Spelling Bee did provide a virtual platform in late 2020 for those schools and systems that could not hold their bees in-person. As you might imagine, there were some technical glitches and platform anxiety all the way through the county level. But through it all, Georgia has its final 20 spellers for the 2021 Georgia Association of Educators' (GAE) State Spelling Bee Championship.
The GAE State Spelling Bee Committee (SSBC) also decided to hold both the region and state championships via the same Scripps online spelling platform. “We concurred that it would not be safe for students, families and the committee, judges and callers to gather physically in our normal manner in March,” said SSBC Vice Chair Susan Tallant. The committee also concluded that the myriad technical challenges from different areas of the state precluded it from holding it via a video platform such as Zoom.