Immaculate Conception 6th-grader wins Richmond County spelling bee

By correctly spelling ‘‘whimsical’’ and ‘‘ecosystem,’’ Edward Frails III became Richmond County’s spelling bee champion Friday.

“I’m just amazed right now,” said Edward, a sixth-grader at Immaculate Conception Catholic School, after his win.

Friday was a full day of spelling bee competitions at A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School. The day began with the elementary school bee, followed by the middle school bee. Winners from Augusta schools advanced to compete in the county bees.

Will Cawthon, of C.T. Walker Traditional Magnet School, won the elementary school bee.

Edward went head-to-head with Darrell Walker of Hephzibah Middle School for several rounds before correctly spelling ‘‘binoculars’’ to win the middle school title.

The county bee was a one-on-one contest between Edward and Will. Edward had to spell two words correctly to claim the title after Will misspelled ‘‘siege.’’

“Third time’s a charm,” said Edward’s father, Edward Frails Jr. “We were here last year and the year before. We are very proud of him.”

Edward said he was worried about only a couple of the words, including ‘‘whimsical,’’ and he owed his success to hitting the books.

“I studied with my grandmother (Betty Jean Frails) almost every night,” he said.

“He worked so hard,” said his mother, Elisabeth Frails. “He would forgo watching TV.”

His next stop is to the regional spelling bee, sponsored by The Augusta Chronicle, on March 3 at the Morris Auditorium.

To get ready, Edward plans to keep studying, and, as the winner of the county bee, he received several items, including word games and books, he can use to hone his spelling skills.

Karen Cliett, one of the event officials and a professional learning specialist with the Richmond County Board of Education, said spelling bees are important for children.

“We not only have to be able to communicate orally but through the written word," she said. "Children need to know how to spell. It’s important for children to be able to think and problem-solve creatively. That’s why we still do the spelling bees. It’s fun. The kids enjoy it.”

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