Twenty-one finish on top at legal spelling bee

By Curt Yeomans


Clayton County Board of Education Member Michael B. King announced the 21 local students who received prizes at the Michael B. King Legal Spelling Bee, which was held on Saturday at the National Archives at Atlanta, in Morrow.

According to King, there were 80 participants, spread across three categories, which were middle schools, elementary schools and primary schools. The top seven spellers in each category received a cash prize, he said.

First-place spellers received $150, and a trophy, according to King. He said subsequent prizes were $100 for second-place finishers; $75 for third-place finishers; $50 for fourth-place finishers; $25 for fifth-place finishers; $15 for sixth-place finishers, and $5 for seventh-place finishers.

In the middle school category, North Clayton Middle School eighth-grader Christina Pham took first place. She was followed by Decatur-based Green Forest Christian School student Jenae Smith (second place); College Park-based Blackstone Academy students Tariq Muhammad (third place), Mecca Muhammad (fourth place), and Arielle Muhammad (fifth place); Atlanta Parks Middle School student Jasmine Green (sixth place), and Atlanta-based Ashville School student Austin Green (seventh place).

In the elementary school category, Alpharetta-based Amana Academy sixth-grader Bilal Naeem won first place. Naeem was followed by Atlanta-based Kipp Strive Academy student Jolisa Brown (second place); Blackstone Academy student Christopher Ferrell (third place); Kipp Strives Academy student Misha McDaniel (fourth place), and Amana Academy students Afran Abdul Kadir (fifth place), Sakinah Tarver (sixth place), and Rayyan Thaaj (seventh place).

In the primary school category, Fayetteville-based Spring Hill Elementary School fourth-grader Zachary Stewart won first place. He was followed by Lewis Academy of Excellence student Benjamin Okafor (second place); Amana Academy student Mahvish Qureshi (third place); Pointe South Elementary School student Tyson Long (fourth place); Lewis Academy of Excellence student Antonia Hardin (fifth place); Atlanta Gideons Elementary School student Jaylan Morgan (sixth place), and Amana Academy student Rida Naeem (seventh place).

Judges were Morehouse College English Pofessor Tara Miller; Clark Atlanta University History Professor Latangela Crossfield; Jonesboro Attorney Johnny Castaneda, and Riverdale City Councilmen Rick Scoggins and Wayne Hall.