14-year-old is Georgia’s c-h-a-m-p-i-o-n

A 14-year-old Woodward Academy student is Georgia’s spelling champion and will go on to represent the state in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in May.

Monisha Mahadevan was locked in a nearly 13-round battle with eventual runner-up Billy Chung, 14, from Mount de Sales Academy in Bibb County before correctly spelling the words “novillero” and then “arboretum” to become the state’s new spelling champion.

Mahadevan will receive an all-expense paid trip to the national championship in Washington May 26-28. She also won a $1,000 reward from the Georgia Association of Educators, which sponsored the event, an iPad Mini, a $100 Amazon gift card, a Kindle Fire and other prizes. Chung earned a $500 reward and several other prizes.

“This is great,” Mahadevan said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to meeting other kids who love spelling.”