English as a language is hard enough, but add German and French to a hungry Creole twist and you get an oddball spelling like “andouille.”
And that was the winning word spelled by 13-year-old Johns Creek student Arushi Cumer on Friday during the 58th Georgia Association of Educators State Spelling Bee. According to the GAE, 20 spellers from across Georgia between 10 and 14 years old went through 250 words.
The win moves her on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championships in Maryland a couple months from now.
“It felt amazing because I had put so many hours into working,” the River Trail Middle School 7th-grader told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.
Here was the play-by-play at the end: Clara Padgett, a student from Columbia County, misspelled “alcalde” — which, of course, we all know is the chief administrative and judicial officer/mayor of a town in a Spanish-speaking region — in the 17th round. Then Arushi, who had to correctly spell two words in a row to win, got “hedebo” — if you’ve been living under a rock, that’s a word of Danish origin meaning “an embroidery characterized by drawn work and decorative stitching” — and she aced it.
Arushi then successfully sliced into “andouille,” a spiced pork sausage popular in Creole cuisine. After a big sigh amid the applause, she put her hands over her mouth and quickly acknowledged her competitor then struggled to hide her smile, as seen on a YouTube video posted by GAE.
Arushi was given an all-expense-paid trip to the championship in National Harbor, Maryland along with the following: an iPad Pro, a $50 Visa gift card, a Kindle, a one-year online subscription to the Encyclopedia Britannica Premium, a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.
The national Scripps championship will be May 28 to 30 on ESPN. She said being on television is a new challenge. “I still have stage fright, and being on TV is worse.” Her plan? “I breathe in, I try to stay calm.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.