By Monroe Roark
Gravitas is defined as
“seriousness or sobriety, as of conduct or speech.” It is an
understanding of the importance of a particular situation.
How appropriate, then, that
it was one of the two final words Logan Witham was required to spell
correctly to win the Henry County School System’s annual spelling
bee Jan. 24.
HCS Spelling Bee Finalists
(Front Row, l to r: Logan Witham, Kathleen Mabutin, and
Angela Leeper; (Back Row) Dr. Ethan Hildreth, far left, and
supporters of the spelling bee finalists.
The Union Grove Middle
seventh-grader survived 32 rounds that consumed more than three
hours to take home the title in one of the longest bees in the
county’s history. Kathleen Mabutin of Locust Grove Middle placed
second, her third time in the finals, while Angela Leeper of Ola
Middle came in third.
To win, a student must spell
two consecutive words correctly, one of which was missed by his or
her opponent. Witham’s final two words were gravitas and cuculiform.
The event began with 38
competitors from grades 4-8 at schools around the district.
All three finalists will
advance to the regional competition March 1 at Mundy’s Mill Middle
School in Jonesboro to face students from Clayton, Coweta, Fayette,
Spalding and Rockdale counties. Mabutin placed second in the region
last year and got the chance to participate in the state
For their efforts locally,
the three finalists received mementos of their accomplishments,
including cash prizes from area sponsors of $25, $50, and $100 for
third, second, and first place respectively.
For more information on the state spelling bee
competition and organization, visit the Georgia Association of
Educators’ website at www.gae.org.
For more information on Henry County Schools, visit