The 100 students who made it to the finals faced off at the ABC building in Sydney. (ABC Radio Sydney: Harriet Tatham)
Even if you’re clever enough to know the meaning of curmudgeonly, the ability to spell it is a step beyond.
(Hint: curmudgeonly means a bad-tempered or miserly person, but you already knew that right?)
For the 100 students who competed in the 2018 Premier’s Spelling Bee at the ABC’s Ultimo building in Sydney, being able to memorise words is just one part of a winning strategy.
McCallum Kho, a Year 6 student from Ryde Public School, took the senior prize after beating his peers in round eight with the word “egotistical”.
He said luck played a large part.
“Last time I came second because I got a really hard word — larrikin.”
The 12-year-old says that when he’s greeted with a word he’s unfamiliar with, he tries to take it step by step.
“I try to break down the word or find the word origin and then that can give you a hint.”
McCallum Kho, 12, won the senior division at the 2018 Premier’s Spelling Bee. (ABC Radio Sydney: Harriet Tatham)
The Premier’s Spelling Bee began in 2004 and invites all NSW government primary, central and community schools to participate.
This year the bee tested a record 170,000 students.
To create an even playing field, each school can enter two students in each division to compete in the regional finals.
The top 100 students travelled to Sydney to face off in the state competition, many from regional areas.
The Spelling Bee is just as emotional for parents as it is for competitors. (ABC Radio Sydney: Harriet Tatham)
Nine-year-old Glenmore Park Public School student Emilia McCarthy won the junior division after nailing words like “irredeemable”, “etymology” and “enthusiasm”.
“I just won a cup and it’s really, really, really heavy,” Emilia said after the win.
“I had to beat a lot of children and my mum had to test me on a lot of words and they were all very long.”
While she admitted to not knowing what some of the words meant, she said the spelling bee was always a good way to learn.
“I liked reading, and doing spelling stuff meant I got to do a lot more reading than I should.”
Emilia McCarthy correctly spelled words such as “irredeemable”, “etymology” and “enthusiasm”. (ABC Radio Sydney: Harriet Tatham)