SUPER SPELLERS: Noah Fahey (left), Lucas Westbury, Alyssa McGrath-Christholm and Isabella Lehman were the final four in the spelling bee at Maclean Public School yesterday. The senior winner was Alexis Karstens from Gulmarrad Public School.
SUPER SPELLERS: Noah Fahey (left), Lucas Westbury, Alyssa McGrath-Christholm and Isabella Lehman were the final four in the spelling bee at Maclean Public School yesterday. The senior winner was Alexis Karstens from Gulmarrad Public School. Georja Ryan

Buzzing with excitement

FOR Noah Fahey, the learning never stops.

While mum peels the potatoes, he sits at the bench asking for more spelling words.

While dad washes the car, he perches himself on a bucket nearby and recites the letters to whatever words his dad can think of.

At school, Noah and his friends test each other on words like 'dissertation', 'turbulence' and 'buccaneer'. And for this Year 3 Grafton Public School student, all that practice has definitely paid off.

Noah yesterday won the junior regional final of the NSW Premier's Spelling Bee, held at Maclean Public School.

While he seemed to cruise through the competition with ease, exuding confidence with every letter, going up against a bunch of other students was no easy feat.

"I was nervous at the start, but once I got up there I was all right," Noah said.

He said there wasn't a single word that stood out as the hardest, but he was glad he invested his time in practising.

"I've always been a good speller, but I still practised at home ," Noah said.

Coming in third place, Year 4 Grafton Public School spelling star Lucas Westbury said the trick to spelling words you were unsure of was to sound them out.

"I picture the word in my head and then spell it that way," Lucas said.

"At home I've got a word list where the words start off easy and get harder and harder and that's how I learn."

Alyssa McGrath-Christholm, Year 3 at Harwood Public School, came second and Isabella Lehman, Year 4 South Grafton Public School, was fourth.

Noah now progresses to the state final in Sydney on November 6.

Where do the words come from?

The Macquarie Dictionary publishers supply 1500 words for the junior and senior competition. So just how are the words selected?

"We look at whether the word contains schwas (reduced vowel sounds), silent letters, double consonants, or whether the word has an atypical or ambiguous pronunciation or a spelling rule applied to it," Macquarie Dictionary editor Sue Butler said.



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