At 7 years old, Will Radford might not understand the honor he's just received.
"That's amazing," the Bel Air Elementary School second-grader said of being named the only first-grade winner in the state's Young Georgia Authors' Writing Com-petition, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. He will be recognized at a state board of education meeting next month.
"I have been teaching first grade at Bel Air for 29 years and cannot recall any first-grader winning the state title," said Debbie Callan, Will's former teacher, who had submitted his story about a hippo playing golf. "We have had county and district winners in first grade and other grade levels in the Young Georgia Authors' Contest, but I can't remember if Bel Air ever had the state title.
"When Will's mom was notified about this honor, she was told that his paper was one of 100 first-grade entries read at the state level. Keep in mind that he had to win the county and district levels before being submitted to the state level."
Will's entry centers on his favorite sport: golf. The hippo was just a part of the story because Callan told the class to write about the animal.
"I'm usually at the golf course every day, and I got that idea," Will said. The hippo shot a hole-in-one on the first hole.
"Will is a very independent, creative, dependable and conscientious worker," Callan said. "We had been working on incorporating facts into our creative writing for a while, but this was still a difficult task for most first-graders. He was able to include factual information about hippos, and he embedded the hippo facts into his story and simultaneously shared his passion/interest for golf at the same time.''
Will derives his love of golf from his father, John. His mother, Dawn, said their son is a "heavy-duty golfer."
"He's pretty knowledgeable about the game," she said.
Most of Will's summer was spent on the golf course with his father and he even won a few junior tournaments this year.
"Whether Will becomes a pro golfer, writer, scientist, mathematician, etc., is still unknown, but I believe with the support of his family and the gifts he has, he will be able to do anything he desires to pursue and work for," Callan said of the young all-A honor pupil.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.