Yamba Public School's River Robinson is on his way to Sydney for his third year in a row to the Premier's Spelling Bee challenge.
Yamba Public School's River Robinson is on his way to Sydney for his third year in a row to the Premier's Spelling Bee challenge. Adam Hourigan

River rises to the spelling challenge

AFTER three straight years representing the north coast at the Premier's Spelling Bee state finals, Yamba Public School's River Robinson needs no introduction.

This year though, they gave him a big wrap as we walked onto stage.

"They said that they'd never had anyone ever make it through three years in a row, he was a veteran and that he was one to watch out for. They really put the pressure on,” River's mother Buffy Williams-Robinson said.

River rose to the challenge, as one of the only year five students among the 55 senior students who competed for the title, placing equal fourth.

"He got through about 12 rounds of words, including six rounds of unseen words,” Mrs Williams-Robinson said.

"His very first word was discreet, which he had to pick the right one out of the two different versions. Some of the other first round words were bank and other simpler ones so it was a bit of shock for him to get that straight away.”

River finally succumbed to the word "stipendiary”, with a trick in the quoted definition of the word including the word "jury” to throw the spellers off.

Ms Williams-Robinson said she was extremely proud of River, who had previously come fourth and seventh in his last two years, and said that while he was frustrated to be so close, was rearing to go again next year.

"He's more keen than ever now to push on next year,” she said. "He really just wants to win it.”

River is not just an academic achiever though, this weekend competing to make a squad of 12 for a national under 12's soccer side in Coffs Harbour.



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