Special Photo by Jerry Jackson: Students from area schools in Clayton County took home trophies during last year’s county spelling bee. In no particular order, they are: Makhi Simpson, champion; Christina Onuoha, first runner-up; Nikko White, second runner-up, and Abdul Mia, third runner-up.
Fourth-through eighth-grade students in Clayton County public schools are practicing, and studying for their participation in the upcoming district spelling bee.
The event will be held Thursday, Jan. 26, from 8 a.m., to noon, at the Recreation Outreach Center (ROC) of the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, located at 148 Church Street in Jonesboro.
“This has been a long-time partnership with the school district,” said Sid Chapman, president of the Clayton County Education Association (CCEA). The CCEA is a chapter of the Georgia Association of Educators, the group that coordinates the spelling bee events.
The CCEA is responsible for planning the event at the local level.
Chapman said this year’s competition will feature champion spellers from all elementary and middle schools in the county.
In order to advance in the competition, Chapman said, pupils must win, first, at their home schools, then repeat the feat in district competition.
Clayton County Public Schools Elementary Language Arts Coordinator Ebony Thomas said the winner of the district spell-off will advance to the Fifth District Regional Competition, which includes participants from schools in Carroll, Clayton, Coweta, Fayette, Griffin-Spalding, Haralson, Henry, Polk, and Rockdale counties, along with Bremen City and Carrollton City schools.
Last year, Lake Ridge Elementary School fourth-grader, Makhi Simpson, won the Clayton County Spelling Bee, defeating first-runner-up, Christina Onuoha, an eigth-grader at Kendrick Elementary School.
Chapman said he is advising middle school students competing this year not to underestimate contestants from the elementary school ranks.
“Some of these kids in the lower grades can really spell,” said Chapman. “They can really sock it to the middle schoolers.”