South Otago High pupils score high places in spelling

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South Otago High School pupil’s proved their way with words last week.

Annie Schofield and Meg Albarico represented their school at the New Zealand spelling bee regional final last Monday.

The event held at Otago Museum in Dunedin had 14 of the southern region’s best spellers go head-to-head.

Annie placed in the top two after spelling, and Meg came fourth.

The year 9 and 10 students competing in the lower South Island semifinal won their places out of a field of hundreds, from more than 100 secondary schools and colleges around New Zealand.

They had previously secured their place in the competition by acing a classroom written test which determined the top 200 spellers in the country.

” I got a bit nervous, but I just rely on my intuition to get the words right,” Meg said.

Annie said she had always read lots of books and that was how she had managed to become such a good speller.

She will compete along with the top three spellers from each region at the New Zealand Spelling Bee national final in Wellington in November.

Now in its 14th year, the New Zealand Spelling Bee is a competitive spelling event aimed at encouraging year 0 to 10 students to gain a love of the English language.

Event organiser Janet Lucas said the Dunedin competition was one of the smallest semifinals in the country, but that meant often competitors had to spell more words.

Their ability to know how to spell certain words could depend on their interests.

“If you play a musical instrument, a musical term can be easy for you.”

Competitors were more prepared each year, she said.

The winner of the final would receive the spelling bee trophy and $5000 towards their academic pursuits.