Being a super speller can pay off and Jet Rawls has the cash—and trophies—to prove it. The Indian Creek Middle School eighth-grader earned $200, a Chick-fil-A gift card, and a gift basket for winning the District 5 Regional Spelling Bee on Saturday, February 25. This is the second consecutive year Rawls has bested the competition at the regional bee, which included contestants from Bremen City, and Butts, Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Griffin-Spalding, Heard, Henry, and Rockdale county school systems. As a result, he is now the proud owner of five school spelling bee champion trophies, three Newton County School System (NCSS) spelling bee champion trophies, and two regional champion trophies. He will now vie for an even bigger prize when he competes in the Georgia Spelling Bee later this month.
“Jet’s performance in the Bee was a combination of confidence and calm,” said April Swain, coordinator of the District 5 Regional Spelling Bee. “He seemed relaxed and ready from the moment he checked in, during pre-Bee conversations with the pronouncer and other spellers, and eventually throughout the competition. I look forward to his appearance in the State Bee on March 17.”
According to Rawls, he was “a little nervous, but more about the vocabulary round than the spelling rounds.”
Nonetheless, when runner-up Thurman Blake, Jr., from Eddie White Academy in Clayton County, stumbled on the word, “eiderdown,” Rawls confidently spelled the next two words, “geranium,” and “parapet,” to win the District 5 Regional Spelling Bee.
As soon as the final word was announced, Rawls got excited.
“I knew the word so I knew I was going to State,” said Rawls, whose ultimate goal has always been to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
To prepare, Rawls said he would continue to study the spelling lists he has and keep working on vocabulary as well.
“I’m going to study every day,” said Rawls. “I’ll also work on some new spelling lists, too.”
When asked his goal at the Georgia Spelling Bee, he was matter of fact.
My goal is to win,” he said. “And my ultimate goal is ending up on TV in Washington, D.C. at the National Spelling Bee.
”Jet's dedication to preparing for competition is unparalleled,” said Dr. Renee Mallard, principal of Indian Creek Middle School. “He balances academics and outside interests and carries himself in such a mature manner, and is just a great young man with a positive attitude. We are so proud that he is representing Indian Creek and the NCSS!”
“I am most definitely not surprised that Jet won the regional spelling bee,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “He’s a young man on a mission and he works hard to accomplish the goals he sets for himself. To win the regional spelling bee for two consecutive years is a phenomenal accomplishment. He competed against the very best spellers from multiple counties and won. That says a lot about his work ethic, his study skills, and of course, his talent. I am extremely proud of him and wish him the very best. I know he will represent his school and our school system well at the Georgia Spelling Bee. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he achieves his goal of competing at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.”
Jet will battle the best spellers in Georgia at the 2017 State Spelling Bee on Friday, March 17, 2017 at Georgia State University, Student Center in Atlanta.