Matilda Stewart claims runner-up in state senior final of the NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee

Our spelling champ: Matilda Stewart was the runner-up in the Premier's NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee. Photo: Matt Attard
Our spelling champ: Matilda Stewart was the runner-up in the Premier's NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee. Photo: Matt Attard

HASTINGS Public School’s Matilda Stewart has her head held high after competing in, and almost winning, the prestigious NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee at the ABC Centre in Ultimo on November 9.

Matilda made it through to the state senior final by correctly spelling 13 very difficult words, many of which you may never have heard of, before stumbling at the final hurdle.

The tricky English language seems all too easy for the grade five student, who waltzed through to a showdown for supremacy with eventual winner, Christina Hood, from Bungendore Public School.

She was unable to correctly spell the word carillonist, which is the title of the musician who plays the carillon instrument.

Four Mid North Coast students took part in the spelling bee, including Forster’s Lucas Guiney, Aldavilla Public’s Layla Wicks, and Isaac Gorline-Singleman from Crescent Head.

Matilda is an avid reader who is currently reading a series called Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan.

She will begin reading The Lord of the Rings when she turns 11. She said reading every day helps her pick up new words and boosts her brain power.

“I am really proud to almost get the best speller in the state. My opponent was really nice and she shook my hand and didn’t gloat at all,” she said.

“I had never heard of that word before. I was really nervous but I was excited as well.

“The first time I had to stand up and speak it was hard, probably because no one had gotten a word wrong before me and I didn’t want to be the first to misspell a word.”

She said the experience was great and will return in 2018, when she is in grade six, to give it another crack.

More than 153,000 students took part in this year’s competition, with around 3,200 from almost 1000 public schools across NSW competing in September’s regional finals, and 86 taking part in the State finals.

NSW is the top-ranked State in mean spelling scores at all year levels in this year’s NAPLAN. 

For further information on the Premier’s Spelling Bee go to: https://www.artsunit.nsw.edu.au/speaking-competitions/spelling-bee/premiers- spelling-bee