The following students will participate in the Forsyth County school system’s spelling bee on Saturday:
* 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
Source: Forsyth County Schools
The competition likely will be tough Saturday during the Forsyth County school system’s annual spelling bee.
Among the 29 middle and elementary school students who qualified for the bee by winning their various school competitions is Julia Vallier of Little Mill Middle, the 2012 champion who finished second in 2013.
“She was first runner-up last year,” said Judi Jenkins, the bee’s organizer. “But last year she was the third or fourth one left standing at the district level.”
Jenkins said she’s always excited to see returning spellers. Vallier, however, is the first three-time school champion to participate in the county bee. In 2011 and 2012, she represented Chestatee Elementary.
Some challenging competition awaits Vallier, according to Jenkins, who added that she is impressed with all the spellers.
“What’s so amazing to me is that with computers and spell check ... there’s so much technology where kids really don’t need to know how to spell,” she said. “I just think it’s so awesome that kids still want to spell. And I believe this goes back to them being good readers.”
Students can look up a study guide through the Scripps National Spelling Bee, though there’s no guarantee that words used in the county, district or state bees will be in there.
“It could be some of those words and it could not be,” said Jenkins, who has a list of more than 500 words for Saturday’s bee.
“One year, we did run out. I panicked,” she said. “So I’ve got about 500 words ready to go, plus I take some more just in case.”
The bee will begin at 10 a.m. in South Forsyth High School’s performing arts building.
While the top three spellers will advance to the district bee next month, Jenkins said just making it to the county event is a big accomplishment.
She added that this could be the year a Forsyth student wins the state competition, earning a spot at the national bee in Washington, D.C.
“I’d give anything if we could have one go,” Jenkins said. “I think it would be awesome.”