Riverside Middle School's Andrew Byrd, 12, correctly spells the word "geochrony" to win the Columbia County Spelling Bee.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Andrew Byrd was last on the roster to spell but also the last one standing at Columbia County's spelling bee Tuesday.
The Riverside Middle School sixth-grader won his school's spelling bee and moved on to compete at the county level at Grovetown Middle School, where he competed against 21 other school bee winners.
Though he has never won the school competition, Andrew performed well in class spelling bees for the past few years, he said.
Andrew, the son of Stephen and Janet Byrd of Martinez, was calm and confident as he spelled his way to the county trophy.
"Of course I was a little bit nervous, but I knew I could spell well," Andrew said after winning.
After 20 other spellers were eliminated, it was down to Andrew and Grovetown Middle seventh-grader Amber Forbes, who had the home-field advantage by competing at her own school.
Amber misspelled the word "deterrent" and was knocked out of the final round. Andrew spelled "subjugate" to win the round and "geochrony," which means chronology used in geology, for the win.
The softspoken 12-year-old grinned and threw his arms in the air after correctly spelling the word that will pass him on to the regional spelling bee.
"He does a lot of reading. I think that helps," his mother said. "We're proud of him. He's a good boy."
Andrew mainly used the Paideia spelling guide to study, he said.
"It was very useful," Andrew said. "It is hard to study for something like this without it."
Andrew will now move on to the regional spelling bee March 6 at The Augusta Chronicle. The winner of that competition will go to spell for the national title at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee June 1-3 in Washington.
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