River Robinson, 9 of Yamba Public School is off to the state finals of the Premier's Spelling Bee.
River Robinson, 9 of Yamba Public School is off to the state finals of the Premier's Spelling Bee. Adam Hourigan

River on a spelling run all the way to Sydney

"P-R-I-M-O-R-D-I-A-L. Primordial."

River Robinson spelled his word, and waited.

It is... correct - and he became the winner of the North Coast Premier's Spelling Bee junior section.

Having already negotiated a tricky sounding "half", and a tougher "feminism", the Year 3 student from Yamba Public School took out the title, competing against other Year 3 and 4 students to earn the right to represent the area at the state Premier's Spelling Bee title next Wednesday.

The event will be held at the Eugene Goosen's Hall in Sydney against 42 other finalists from across the state, and River has a simple strategy to calm the nerves before he starts.

"We get a practice round at the start of the spelling bee, and if you get your first word right, it's just like 'OK. I'm cool with this," he said.

"But sometimes the words can be a bit confusing. They give you the word in a sentence, and you can ask them to repeat the word."

River is an avid reader, and is working his way through some modern classics of childhood literature.

"I've just finished the Harry Potter series of books, which are a bit of a favourite now, and I'm working my way through the Treehouse series now," he said.

"To practice I'm just reading the dictionary, going through and learning some words."

And among the many words now floating in his head, River says his current favourite may leave some a little astounded.

"It's 'flabbergasted'," he laughs. "I just find it really funny, and it's a good word to use."

River said he watched the first series of the Great Australian Spelling Bee on television, and expects the competition to be much the same.

"But it's one mistake and you're gone," he said.

This is the second year Yamba Public School has had a representative at the state finals, with student Sophie Jillett competing in last year's senior competition.



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