Rising Starr’s Baber second at state spelling bee

Runner-up Matthew Baber from Rising Star Middle, GAE State Spelling Bee Committee Chair Susan Tallant, and Georgia Bee Champion Sai Lakkimsetti.

With a runner-up performance at the 62nd Annual Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) State Spelling Bee, Matthew Baber from Rising Star Middle will represent the state in the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships.

After over 100 words over 20 rounds, Sai Lakkimsetti from Stallings Island Middle School in Columbia County emerged as the winner of the GAE State Spelling Bee with Baber as runner-up.

Baber took home a second place trophy and received an all expense paid trip to the national championship and $1,000, an iPad Mini, an online subscription dictionary, a one-year online subscription to Encyclopaedia Britannica, and one $100 U.S. Savings Bond. In addition, all contestants received a GAE State Bee lapel pin.

GAE President Lisa Morgan said, “Congratulations to both Sai and Matthew and all of these great young spellers. It is a joy to see how far they’ve come and the self-confidence they’ve exhibited in handling the pressure and competition. And we of course wish the best of luck to both their families as they travel to Maryland and the national championship.”

Baber said he will have to study very hard to succeed at nationals, but “it’s probably going to be fun and it will just be great to be there.”

The Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships will be held in National Harbor, Maryland, May 28-June 2, 2023.