HUNTER children have chewed their lips, clenched their fists and rolled their eyes to the sky while ruminating over words including exuberant, flannelette, hypnotherapy and spinneret at the regional finals of the Premier’s Spelling Bee.
Tenambit Public School hosted 40 year three and four students from 20 schools in the junior knockout session on Tuesday morning, which Sophie Szabo of Iona Public won in the seventh round with the word technician. Maitland East’s Ben Collins was runner up.
Another 40 students from years five and six competed in the senior knockout session in the afternoon.
Medowie Public’s Kallie Bailey won in the seventh round with the word familial. Tanilba Bay’s Taniesha Tetevano was senior runner up.
Event organiser and teacher Stephanie Creagan said the atmosphere got “very tense” as the words became more challenging.
She said television series The Great Australian Spelling Bee, which finished last year, had sparked a revival of interest in being able to spell well.
“The show hyped it up so much and it’s become a big thing in the past couple of years,” she said.
“It’s great – it makes our job a lot easier if they want to do it.
“It’s amazing how kids get up and spell in front of hundreds, that they’ve got the confidence to do that.
“They go home with the practice lists of about 1000 words and practise for weeks and weeks – they’re really into it.”
Junior winner Sophie and senior winner Kallie will go to the competition’s state final in November.
A total of 44 regional finals are being held across NSW.
Lambton and Wallsend South also hosted finals on Tuesday.
Rutherford and Hamilton will host finals on September 13.