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Dilemma's not a worry for super spellers

River Robinson of Yamba Public School, winner of North Coast Spelling Bee junior finals for the second year in a row.
River Robinson of Yamba Public School, winner of North Coast Spelling Bee junior finals for the second year in a row. Adam Hourigan

HE SPELT up a storm when rocketing to a fourth place finish as a Year 3 student in last year's statewide Premier's Spelling Bee challenge, but River Robinson had to face one dilemma before taking out the Northern Rivers title this year.

Actually, 'dilemma' was the word he had to spell, but it wasn't all smooth sailing.

"We were down to two, and I had to spell calorie, which I put a 'y' on the end of, and I'm not sure why," he said.

"But the other person left also missed their word so we kept going, and I spelt dilemma correctly to win."

River will join the senior winner, Che Mackay from Palmers Island Public School, in the state final in November and said that his high placing made him more confident going into this year.

"Once you get past that first word it's easier, you get used to it and the nerves just break down."

For his competition, there are five levels of words the students are given before the preparation, but the competition soon moves into harder "unseen" words for the win, and River said that having a photographic memory for the words helped.

"I just memorise them over and over again, and you see the word and cross out the letters you've already done and go on with it,"

"Between now and the competition, it'll just be this now," he said patting a dictionary.

 

BOOKWORM: Senior North Coast Spelling Bee champion Che Mackay from Palmers Island Public School.
BOOKWORM: Senior North Coast Spelling Bee champion Che Mackay from Palmers Island Public School. Adam Hourigan Photography

It will be Che's first time at the Sydney state finals after finishing runner-up several times.

He said that reading "a lot" of books was his secret.

"The words just sit in my head," he said. "I just like to read any book."

The year 6 student took out the senior competition by correctly spelling "velocity" and said he was looking forward to the next stage

"It's pretty awesome to go, although I'm unsure what to expect," he said.

"My secret is to just keep cool and go with it."



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