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Ola Elementary School Fifth-Grader is 2024 Henry County Schools Spelling Bee Champion

HENRY COUNTY, GA – Jessie Norsworthy, a fifth-grader at Ola Elementary, emerged as this year’s champion in the district-wide Spelling Bee held Jan. 17 at the McDonough Performing Arts Center.

The competition consisted of 10 rounds, including a vocabulary round, following the Georgia Association of Educators (GAE) State Spelling Bee guidelines. 

Norsworthy outlasted the competitive field of 38 talented elementary and middle school students, successfully navigating the rounds and clinching the title by correctly spelling the word “methane.”

Alexis Walker, a seventh-grader at Stockbridge Middle School, placed second; Tomilola Ogungbamila, a fourth-grader from Mt. Carmel Elementary, placed third, and in fourth place was Evelyn Paden, a fourth-grader from Woodland Elementary.

All top four spellers will represent Henry County Schools in the GAE Region 5 Spelling Bee at Conyers-Rockdale Library on Feb. 24.

“Our vision is to create a community of powerful readers and writers,” said Superintendent Mary Elizabeth Davis. “We’ve made it a top priority of our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan for every Henry County School student to read at or above grade level, and the Spelling Bee is a beloved annual event that exemplifies that vision.”

The annual spelling competition further underscores the district’s commitment to academic excellence. Students enhance their language skills and develop discipline and sportsmanship in preparing for and competing in the championship.

“Congratulations to Jessie on a remarkable performance,” said Board Chair Sophe Pope (Dist. 4). “We proudly celebrate all the students who participated and applaud them and their coaches for their hard work. They represented their schools well and are all winners who deserve to be celebrated amidst this year of ‘Winning For Kids’ in Henry County Schools.”

Henry County Schools’ English Language Arts Department served as host of the competition, and the Henry County Association of Educators was the official sponsor of the spelling bee, presenting the winners with monetary gifts. Norsworthy also received a trophy, and the runners-up received medals and certificates. 

“The Henry County Spelling Bee was a great success,” said Henry County Association of Educators President Dr. Kimberly Dawson. “I extend a big congratulations to all students who were part of this year’s Spelling Bee. There were several first-time participants, and it was also great to see so many returning spellers. I am proud of all participants and encourage students interested in spelling to start preparing for next year. I look forward to seeing Henry County scholars as they ‘spell on’ to the next levels.”

About Henry County Schools

Henry County Schools (HCS) is the eighth-largest school district in Georgia, consisting of 52 schools, including two academies, located about 20 minutes south of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Over the past 20 years, our community has grown in population from 113,000 residents to over 244,000 residents. Since 1999, student enrollment has grown from 21,000 to 43,000 students, and our number of employees has grown from 3,000 to 6,000.

HCS is “In Pursuit of Exceptional,” taking action to advance opportunities, access, and outcomes so that every student in our school district has Exceptional Support, Exceptional Access, and an Exceptional Future. In 2020, our Board of Education adopted our 2021-2026 Community-Inspired Strategic Plan and laid out a clear vision and mission for Henry County Schools. Our vision is to ensure a high-quality, world-class education for every student, and our mission is to empower all students with exceptional opportunities and access that lead to success in a global society.