Grovetown Middle School Principal Carolyn Fries described this year's Columbia County spelling bee as similar to the Super Bowl.
There's one big difference: The spelling bee was exciting all the way until the end.
Mary Grace Messick, a 14-year-old Greenbrier Middle eighth-grader, spelled her way to the county title last Thursday, correctly spelling her final word: "ramification."
Mary Grace will join other area students March 10 at The Augusta Chronicle's auditorium for the regional competition, with the winner heading to national competition May 30 in Washington, D.C.
In our sports-crazy society - as exemplified by the Super Bowl - the excitement generated by a literacy competition is unusual, but welcome. And it's even more than that.
"It's nerve-wracking," Fries says, and she's right; spelling bees are an edge-of-your-seat experience, with youngsters focusing intently on correctly spelling one word at a time to move to the next round. Spectators find themselves holding their breath as each word is spelled.
Best of all, the competition leaves everyone - participants and spectators alike - smarter when it's over. How many football games do that?
Congratulations to Mary Grace, and to all this year's competitors.
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