Becoming the state’s best spellers isn’t as easy as ABC

The list for the Premier’s Spelling Bee might contain some preposterously hard words but they’re child’s play for the state’s best student spellers.

06 August 2020
Premier’s Spelling Bee 2018 junior winner Emilia McCarthy with announcer and ABC presenter Wendy Harmer.
Image: Premier’s Spelling Bee 2018 junior winner Emilia McCarthy with announcer and ABC presenter Wendy Harmer.

Students from across the state will go head to head on Friday to prove they know more than just their “there” from their “they’re” at the state final of the Premier’s Spelling Bee.

Preposterous, a four-syllable word for absurd or utterly foolish, is among the difficult words that senior students from Years 5 and 6 have had to spell to progress to the final.

Junior students, in Years 3 and 4, have had to spell words including perpetual and pharmacy to avoid a forfeit.

The 98 students in the state final finished in the top 0.05% of all competition entrants, with the 2019 Spelling Bee attracting a record participation of 170,000 students from more than 1,000 NSW public schools.

The 49 junior and 49 senior students competing to be the state’s top spellers have already won school, zone and regional finals, before reaching the state final.

ABC Breakfast presenter Wendy Harmer will announce words for the senior final from 9:30am Friday, while Cassie McCullagh, who co-hosts the ABC Radio National literary show The Bookshelf will take on announcer duties from 1:30pm for the junior final.

Want to follow along at home and put your spelling skills to the test? Check out the department’s Facebook page on Friday for a livestream from the final at the ABC Centre in Ultimo.

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