Jett Rawls wasn’t satisfied with simply winning two consecutive Newton County School System (NCSS) Spelling Bees. He went on to win the District 5 Regional Spelling Bee in Riverdale, competing against students from Bremen City and Butts, Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Griffin-Spalding, Heard, Henry and Rockdale county school systems.
The next step for Rawls, the Indian Creek Middle School Spelling Bee champion is the state Bee later this month. If he is successful there, he will move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
“I was really nervous but you’ve got to fight it back,” said Rawls, who battled through 19 rounds of competition at the District 5 Bee. His chance to win the title finally came when Breanna Riley of Clayton County School System, faltered on the word, “semantics.”
Jet successfully spelled “filament” and then clinched the championship by spelling the word, “palmetto.”
“When they said the word, ‘palmetto,’ I was like, ‘I did it,’” he said.
He won a trophy and $200 from the Georgia Association of Educators and a box of school supplies from the District 5 Regional Spelling Bee host, Sequoyah Middle School.
Rawls said he was confident that he knew how to spell each of the words called to contestants during the regional Bee.
“It’s cool to make it to the State Spelling Bee, but I know it’s probably going to be a lot tougher,” he said. “I can see it gets increasingly harder each level you go up.”
Successfully preparing for a spelling bee competition is nothing new to Rawls, though. He’s won his school spelling bee each of the past four years—fourth and fifth grade at East Newton Elementary and sixth and seventh grade at Indian Creek Middle. He’s also won the Newton County School System Spelling Bee two years in a row and now, in his second attempt, he’s won the Regional Spelling Bee. As a result, he’s already got a plan for the State Bee.
“I’m going to study the lists I already have and also find some more challenging words to learn,” he said. “I’ll review vocabulary and try to define new words.”
“We’re very proud of him,” said Jet’s father, Todd Rawls. “He’s worked real hard and now he’s finally gotten past the Regional Bee. The State Spelling Bee will be a lot tougher but it will be a great experience for him.”
“Jet is the most charming young man—well-mannered and a great citizen,” said Dr. Renee Mallard, principal of Indian Creek Middle School. “He is a pleasure to have as part of our student body. In addition, he’s an excellent student who is so conscientious about his work. His teachers as well as the rest of Indian Creek, are so proud of him. I am thrilled for his parents and him!”
Jet will compete against the best spellers in Georgia at the 2016 State Spelling Bee on Friday, March 18, 2016, at 11 a.m. at Zoo Atlanta, Coca Cola World Studio.