Video transcript
NSW Premier's Spelling Bee 2019 – Senior state final

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PAUL MARSHALL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen and students. My name is Paul Marshall, speaking competitions officer. I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the Eugene Goossens Hall for this year's senior state final of the Premier's Spelling Bee. So we acknowledge that we make on the homelands of the Cadigal people.

We pay respects to elders past and present, and extend that respect to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today. Welcome to the 49 senior state finalists who have each won their regional final to be here today. I'd also like to extend a warm welcome to the principals, teachers, fellow students, and families of the finalists, many of whom have travelled from all over the states to attend this morning's final.

It's a real achievement to have progressed this far. The best of luck to you all. Our student officials chairing the final are from Jasper Road Public School. They are accompanied by their teacher Beth Cahill.

STUDENT: It is now my pleasure to introduce our announcer for the competition, Miss Wendy Harmer.


WENDY HARMER: Well, thank you very much indeed for inviting me back. This is my second year in hosting, and I had a great time last year. It was very exciting. I'm looking forward to the same again this year. Hands up, who has been here before? Ah ha! We have a few returnees. Well, you know how it all goes. It all sounds a bit formidable at the moment, but it's not really.

And so maybe we should do a bit of Taylor Swift and shake it off, do you think? Shake off the nerves a bit. You're welcome to do that, or is it just me that's going to do that? OK, just me. Jonas, welcome. Jonas Kappelmann is 11, and he's in year five at Mona Vale Public School. Where's your twin brother today?

JONAS: Up there in the audience.

WENDY HARMER: His favourite word is a German word for egg cracker. What is that word, Jonas?

JONAS: Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher


WENDY HARMER: Yes, and he can spell it. Do you want to have a go?


WENDY HARMER: That is correct. Here is the cup.


Fabulous work. We love your work. We love your whole family's work too. I read here that you don't like pickled gherkins. I'm really surprised by that because they are excellent. What is your excuse?

JONAS: They're pickled.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. Fair enough. When you finish school you'd like to go to university. I'm sure you will. Thank you very much, Jonas, and good luck to you. Your practice word is playground. The playground around the corner has my favourite swing set. Spell playground.

JONAS: Playground. P-L-A-Y-G-R-O-U-N-D. Playground.

WENDY HARMER: Excellent work. Thank you. [inaudible] Good luck. Brendan Doyle. Where's our friend Brendan? He's 11 years old, and he's in year six at Pottsville Beach Public School. Well, he-- what are your thoughts on pickled gherkins?

BRENDAN: I don't like them.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. It's a bit of a trend developing here, I think. However you do love AFL, NRL, soccer, basketball, cricket, and tennis. So I mean, is there any sport that you don't like?

BRENDAN: Not really.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah, that's what I thought. You're an all-rounder. Your favourite movie is?

BRENDAN: Probably Home Alone.

WENDY HARMER: That's not what's written here.

BRENDAN: Oh, Gremlins.

WENDY HARMER: Gremlins. Correct! And if you had a superpower, what would it be, Brendan?

BRENDAN: Eternal living.


BRENDAN: Eternal living.

WENDY HARMER: Immortality. That's right. I don't know about that. I think you might get bored. I'm not sure. Anyway, your practice word today is taco. My favourite. Taco. My favourite dinner each week is taco night. Taco.

BRENDAN: Taco. T-A-C-O. Taco.

WENDY HARMER: Correct. Well done. Thanks. Nice to meet you. Jasmine Schmitt is next. She's 11 years old. She's in year five at Evans River Community School. Where's Evans River? Tell us about that, Jasmine.

JASMINE: It's near a place called Byron Bay.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, well absolutely beautiful. You're an all-rounder too. Spelling, dancing, reading, travelling the world. Where do you like? A place in the world that you've been that you really like.

JASMINE: Germany.

WENDY HARMER: Germany? Is that right. Have you met--


What are your thoughts on pickled gherkins?

JASMINE: I don't know. I've never tried them.

WENDY HARMER: Well don't because they're awful, apparently. Don't try them. You would like to be a famous dancer when you get older, and why not? Your practice word today is help. To get the teachers help in class, all you need to do is put your hand up. Help.

JASMINE: Help H-E-L-P. Help.

WENDY HARMER: Well done. Lovely to meet you. Thank you. Layla Wicks. She's 12, and she is in year six at Aldavilla Public School. Tell us where about Aldavilla?

LAYLA: It's in Kempsey.

WENDY HARMER: In Kempsey. OK. How did you get here today?

LAYLA: I won the regional.





I wondered, in the car or what. Did you come with your teacher or anyone else?

LAYLA: I came with mum, dad, and my sister.

WENDY HARMER: Brilliant. Where are they? Hello!

LAYLA: Hi mum.

WENDY HARMER: Hi mum. Welcome. Well it's nice to see all of you with us. You are interested in, well, playing Sims 4. It's very excellent, isn't it? Your favourite book is The Fault in Our Stars and your favourite band is Panic in the Disco. You could probably come and live in my house with all that. And I know. This is an interesting one. If you could have a superpower, not immortality, what would it be?

LAYLA: Flight.


LAYLA: Yeah.

WENDY HARMER: I should have asked you, did you fly here?

LAYLA: No. Drove.

WENDY HARMER: Kempsey, Aldavilla Good on you, Layla. This is your practice word. Water. A water fight is a great way to cool down in summer. Water.

LAYLA: Water. W-A-T-E-R. Water.

WENDY HARMER: Beautiful. Thank you so much. Good luck. Tara Laraghy is 12 years old. She is in year six at Ulladulla Public School. Her favourite movie is Bohemian Rhapsody. Her favourite foods are pizza and sausages. Together?


WENDY HARMER: What about a pepperoni pizza, though?

TARA: I like pepperoni.

WENDY HARMER: There you go. So that's kind of-- yeah, that's a sausage pizza. I've solved that problem there for you. You can have both. OK, and your favourite word is smile. I think that's really gorgeous. And if you had a superpower, it would be?

TARA: Invisibility.

WENDY HARMER: Invisibility. Why not? Yeah, absolutely. And when Tara finishes school, she'd like to be a paramedic. Your practice word is queen. The queen led her army to battle against her foes. Spell queen.

TYRA: Queen. Q-U-E-E-N. Queen.

WENDY HARMER: Well done. Thank you, Tara. All the best to you. Rishit Singh is 11 years old, and in year six at Parramatta. Beautiful downtown Parramatta Public School. He likes reading. He likes sleeping.


WENDY HARMER: What time do you get out of bed in the morning?

RISHIT: Maybe 7:30.

WENDY HARMER: Do you have to be asked a lot to get out of bed? Do you hear this a lot? Rishit, get out of bed!


WENDY HARMER: You do. OK. And you just roll over. You just get that little bit more.


WENDY HARMER: That's the best bit isn't it? Absolutely I agree. Oh, now who is this mathematician that you really admire? Tell us about him.

RICHARD: Well, he was an Indian mathematician in the 1900s. His name was Srinivasa Ramanujan. And basically he was a really great mathematician but he wasn't credited for his efforts because obviously he didn't have the money to go to university so he couldn't prove his understandings. And it was only until recent years when he was actually credited for his work in a book recently that he published when he was researching mathematics.

WENDY HARMER: Well, I am glad to hear that you're in his corner. That sounds excellent. Your practice word, Rishit is mind. You need to make sure that you mind the gap when you step onto a train. Mind.

RICHARD: Mind. M-I-N-D. Mind.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. River Robinson is 12 and in year six at Yamba Public School. Great part of the world, Yamba. He likes the five S's. Soccer, surfing, snowboarding, skateboarding, and spelling. I can't think of the other S's that are in Yamba. Snakes, sharks, spiders-- what else? But you don't like sharks.

RIVER: No. They're pests

WENDY HARMER: Have you seen one?

RIVER: Yeah, when I was surfing one time.


RIVER: On an "early" It was just right there. It was scary.

WENDY HARMER: What did you do? How fast did you get back to the beach?

RIVER: As fast as I could.

WENDY HARMER: I bet you almost walked. Now maybe that would be your superpower. It should be to walk on water, but you haven't chosen that. What did you choose as your superpower?

RIVER: I chose flight so I could check the surf without walking.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah, excellent. Check if there was any sharks there. Your practice word is bowl. The batsman seemed unstoppable until it was Saula's turn to bowl. She got three wickets in her first over. Bowl.

RIVER: Bowl. B-O-W-L Bowl.

WENDY HARMER: Thanks, River. All the best. Zachary Glover is 10 years old in year five at Bateau Bay Public School. He dislikes soccer. Playing Minecraft with friends. He likes, rather. I was going to say. Dislikes Minecraft with friends? What's wrong with you? You like soccer. Playing Minecraft with friends, and pesto pasta. You dislike mushrooms. What's the story with mushrooms?

ZACHARY: I just don't like them.

WENDY HARMER: Has this been going on for a while?


WENDY HARMER: Since how long do you think you were when you had your first mushroom and you spat it out?

ZACHARY: I don't know.

WENDY HARMER: It goes back that far? Is there any way you could be convinced, do you think?


WENDY HARMER: No. This is for life? OK. Fair enough. I love that your favourite music is AC/DC. It's my favourite too, actually. And your favourite word is?

ZACHARY: Extinguisher?

WENDY HARMER: Extinguisher! Good on you. Zachary, your practice word is world. The soccer team was world class. World.

ZACHARY: World. W-O-R-L-D. World.

WENDY HARMER: Beautiful. Thank you. Alex Zhang is 10 years old and in year five at Gosford Public School. He admires someone that-- a lot of people when they're asked who do you admire they choose a sports star or a TV person or a celebrity. But tell us who you admire.

ALEX: I forgot.


I did.

WENDY HARMER: Here's a hint. He lives in your house.

ALEX: My brother?

WENDY HARMER: Yes! That's him. And why do you admire your brother? You forgot that as well? I've got written down here, Alex admires his brother because of how well he can play the piano. Did you write that, or did someone else?

ALEX: I did.

WENDY HARMER: Well, what's your brother's name?

ALEX: James.

WENDY HARMER: Is he here today?


WENDY HARMER: All right. Well, I'm sure that he's barracking for you though. Your favourite foods are longee and lychee. And your favourite author is?

ALEX: Roald Dahl?

WENDY HARMER: Yes, well done. Alex, your word today is movie. It was an exciting movie with lots of action scenes and explosions. Spell movie.

ALEX: Movie. M-O-V-I-E. Movie.

WENDY HARMER: Well done. Thank you. So Sophie Lane is 11 years old in year five at Carinda Public School. Her favourite food is chicken schnitzel. What's your favourite to TV show? When you finish school you'd like to be a graphic designer, is that right?


WENDY HARMER: Your practice word is older. On the tour, the guide made sure to point out the older historical buildings in the city. Spell older.

SOPHIE: Older O-L-D-E-R. Older.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Good luck, Sophie. Anagh Halder is 12 years old and in year six of Cobbitty Public School. He likes math, spelling, watching cricket. He admires a particular scientist. Who is it?

ANAGH: Albert Einstein.

WENDY HARMER: Why is that?

ANAGH: Because he's really smart.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah, well, probably wasn't for his hair or anything. Yeah, excellent. All right. Your word today is slow. It is important to slow down when driving through a school zone. Slow.

ANAGH: Slow. S-L-O-W. Slow.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you very much indeed. Now Rachael Tran Do. She's 11 years old. She's in year six at Canley Vale Public School. Her favourite food is-- you don't eat these together, do you? Korean Barbecue and banana milk?


WENDY HARMER: That's a wise decision. And your favourite music is?

RACHAEL: I don't remember.

WENDY HARMER: As I say, I'm not going to do this anymore. K- pop I've got written here. Who's your favourite K-pop person?

RACHAEL: I don't remember.

WENDY HARMER: That's OK as well. All right. OK, here is your word. Your practice word is train. The elite sports people must train daily to reach their full potential. Train.

RACHAEL: Train. T-R-A-I-N. Train.

WENDY HARMER: Well done. Thank you. Akshath Senthil is 11 years old and in year six at Homebush Bush West Public School. He admires Cristiano Ronaldo and Steve Smith because-- how good are they?

AKSHATH: Very good.

WENDY HARMER: Very good indeed. And his favourite TV show I've got here is The Big Bang Theory. Why do you like that show?

AKSHATH: It's funny.

WENDY HARMER: There you go. Correct answer again. Your practice word is cricket, Akshath. The best part of summer is being lazy on the lounge watching the cricket. Spell cricket.

AKSHATH: Cricket. C-R-I-C-K-E-T. Cricket.

WENDY HARMER: Yep. Well done. Thank you. Kai Smith is 11 and in year five at Hay Public School. So also come a long way for us. He doesn't like Fortnite, but he's quite into Minecraft. How are you going in Minecraft? Yeah, all right. Do you feel you've achieved everything that you need to in the game, or--

KAI: No.

WENDY HARMER: There's more to come. That's excellent. All right. You say you look up to Claude Caldwell, who is one of Australia's most well-known combat pilots. Would you like to be a pilot? I think you'd be pretty good too. Your practice word today Kai is sushi. When I went to Japan I tasted the best sushi I've ever eaten. Sushi.

KAI: Sushi. S-U-S-H-I. Sushi.

WENDY HARMER: Got it. Thank you. Albert Zhou joins us. He's 12 years old and in year six at Ashfield Public School. He admires cats particularly. He's just a cat person. What is it about cats that's so attractive?

ALBERT: They're fun to play with.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. What other attributes?

ALBERT: They can climb well over walls.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. Is that you too? Are you like a cat?

ALBERT: Sometimes.

WENDY HARMER: Well why don't I ask you to spell cat then? That's a good idea. Your practice word is cat. Albert really likes everything to do with the word cat. Spell cat.

ALBERT: Cat. C-A-T. Cat.

WENDY HARMER: Well done. Thank you for that, Albert. Mnhar Lamba joins us and he is 10 years old and at year five at Narnia Public School. He loves Lego, dark chocolate, Marvel. He doesn't like soccer much, but his favourite movie is Avengers Endgame. Which Avenger do you like the best?

MNHAR: Spider-man.

WENDY HARMER: Spider-man. OK. So I don't think Spider-man's been surpassed, do you? It's classic. But you know, it's all there.

MNHAR: Fine. Then Captain America.

WENDY HARMER: What's that?

MNHAR: Captain America then.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. I think, yeah. You're right. They're all good. Let's just put it that way. They can probably come and smite us, if they felt like it at any point. All right. Your practice word today is side. Mum reminded me to close the door behind me after I was finished playing in the backyard. She reminded me to close the side door. Side.

MNHAR: Side. S-I-D-E. Side.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Yash Singla is 11 years old and in year five at Cullerton Public School. He likes video games and he doesn't like being sick, that's for sure. His favourite book is The Book with No Pictures. I don't know that book. Tell me a bit about that book.

YASH: It's funny, and it makes people say random words.

WENDY HARMER: Oh. All right, good. And when you finish school, what would you like to be?

YASH: I don't know.

WENDY HARMER: Says here a scientist.




All right, Yash. Your practice word today is apple. Dad wraps my apple in a tea towel to prevent it from bruising when he puts it in my lunchbox. Spell apple.

YASH: Apple. A-P-P-L-E. Apple.

WENDY HARMER: Good man. Thank you very much. Rory Husband is 12 years old in year six at Glen Innes Public School. And he has a lovely companion. His dog Bobby. Tell us about your dog. What sort of beast is he?

RORY: Well, he's a German short-haired pointer.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. And how old is he?

RORY: I think three or four.

WENDY HARMER: Is he good at anything in particular?

RORY: Chasing after people.

WENDY HARMER: It's OK. He keeps fit. Every dog chases. Your practice word is funny. The milk that had been left on the bench overnight had a funny smell. Spell funny.

RORY: Funny. F-U-N-N-Y. Funny.

WENDY HARMER: Thanks, Rory. Lena Zhu is 11 years old. She's in year six at Sutherland Public School. Look, this is a very clever thing. When asked who he admires she said her teacher, Mrs. Johnson. Why do you like Mrs. Johnson?

LENA: Well she's really nice. She's really considerate. She also encourages us very well.

WENDY HARMER: When you finish school you'd like to be a doctor, I hear. Well that's just excellent. Your word today is flute. Flute practice is always after school on Thursday afternoons. Can you spell flute?

LENA: Flute F-L-U-T-E. Flute.

WENDY HARMER: Yep, you got there. Thank you so much. Annaliese Rothe is 12 years old. She's in year six at Young Public School. She likes playing the saxophone. How long have you been playing that, Annalise?

ANNALIESE: I started playing in year two, so four years.

WENDY HARMER: Do you think it'll be your instrument for life? Is there another one that you'd like to play?

ANNALIESE: I think I'd like to learn the cello, but I really like the saxophone.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. Yeah. Well, think about how difficult it is to carry around a cello.

ANNALIESE: The saxophone is heavy, but a cello is probably even heavier.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah, quite right. Absolutely. OK. When you grow up you'd like to be an ecologist to save the environment. Excellent. Your practice word is walk. The nicest time of day to go for a walk is in the morning as the sun rises. Walk.

ANNALIESE: Walk. W-A-L-K. Walk.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Thanh Tran is 11 years old and in year five at Summer Hill Public. He doesn't like homework much, but he likes art and his favourite food is sushi. Can you cook sushi? Have you ever tried?

THANH: My Mum does, but not me.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah? Do you think you should be getting in the kitchen and having a go?

THANH: Probably.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah yeah. You'd eat sushi for life then. Absolutely. All right. Your word is place. Today for a practice word. The best place to eat ice cream is at the beach. Place.

THANH: Place. P-L-A-C-E. Place.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you very much. Daniel Cho is 12 years old, in year six at Hornsby South Public School. He likes video games, and his favourite food is sashimi. And his favourite books, well-- I love these too. Tell everyone your favourite books.

DANIEL: I can't remember.

WENDY HARMER: Good grief. Harry Potter! That's right.


WENDY HARMER: Which one of the Harry Potter books did you like the best?

DANIEL: I like the last one best because it has more detail.



WENDY HARMER: And you would like to play more sports when you finish school, it says here. Your practice word is trouble. It is no trouble to pick you up from the train station to save you walking. Trouble.

DANIEL: Trouble. T-R-O-U-B-L-E. Trouble.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you, Daniel Cho. Ethan Li is 10 and he's in year five at West Pymble Public School. Well he admires Greta Thunberg. Tell us why.

ETHAN: Because she does everything she wants. She doesn't like get convinced by anyone older than her. She's quite passionate about what she wants to do.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. She's a very single minded person, do you think? Is that you too?

ETHAN: Depends on what.


WENDY HARMER: All right then. All right. Your favourite food is hot chips. Well. I have to agree with you there. Ethan, your practice word is time. It's hard to balance all the different time commitments of a professional sports person. Spell time.

ETHAN: Time. T-I-M-E. Time.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Correct. Maxim Ceccato is 10 years old and in year five at Forster Public School. You say "Foster" in New South Wales. Even though it's spelled Foster. Is that right, just to be perverse? Yeah, I think that's great. Forster Public School. He likes soccer, tennis, surfing, and his dog Bosco. Tell us about your dog.

MAXIM: Well he is pretty big, and he is a black dog. And we got him from our RSPCA when he was young.

WENDY HARMER: All right. So is he a rescue dog?

MAXIM: Oh, no. He was rescued.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I get that. Has he got any particular talent that you'd like to tell us about, Maxim?

MAXIM: Not really.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, well. Never mind. You could have come here and said he was an excellent dog. I hope that doesn't get back to him anyway.

MAXIM: Well, he's cute.

WENDY HARMER: He's cute. Good. Well your practice word is pasta. The pasta he bought from the restaurant was especially delicious. Spell pasta.

MAXIM: Pasta. P-A-S-T-A. Pasta.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Correct. Kiara Howson. 11 years old and is in year six at-- how do you say this? Nulkaba. Have I got that right, Nulkaba?

KIARA: Nalkarba.

WENDY HARMER: Nulkaba Public School. Where's that?

KIARA: It's in the Hunter Valley.

WENDY HARMER: In the Hunter Valley. OK, well the beautiful Hunter Valley. Well I'm guessing, then, if you're in the Hunter Valley that you love nature and getting out, walking, and swimming and all the rest?

KIARA: Sometimes.

WENDY HARMER: Are you an indoor or an outdoor person, do you think?

KIARA: Indoor.

WENDY HARMER: OK. Got that one wrong as well. Thanks Wendy Above. Your practice word is above. The classroom clock is positioned above the blackboard.

KIARA: Above. A-B-O-V-E. Above.

WENDY HARMER: Correct. Thank you. Mia Evans is 11 and at Jerrabomberra Public School. Jerrabomberra How'd I do mispronouncing it? Jerrabomberra

MIA: Yes.

WENDY HARMER: You like K-pop too, I read here. And your favourite author is JK Rowling. But I've got here what your superpower is, and I wonder if you can remember it because I had a picture in my mind and I'm trying to see if you can tell and remember what your superpower is.

MIA: Read or change minds of people.

WENDY HARMER: There you go. Don't practice it on me today, because it won't work. Actually it could. Your practice word is wall. The wall was covered by an unusual mural. Spell wall.

MIA: Wall. W-A-L-L. Wall.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you, Mia. Dylan Lugstein is 12 years old, and he is at year six at Chipping Norton Public School. He likes cats playing chess. He's not a dog man. Why are you not a dog man? What's the dog thing happening Dylan?

DYLAN: I say they're adorable. I say looks can be deceiving.

WENDY HARMER: Looks can be deceiving, yeah? You don't trust them. OK, I get it. Your practice word is best. The best dumpling store around the corner from my house is the best in all of Sydney. Best.

DYLAN: Best. B-E-S-T. Best.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you very much, Dylan. Oscar Zhang is 11 years old. He's at Cornell's Point Public School. He likes music, chocolate, youtube. Eggplant is off the list. What's the problem with eggplant?

OSCAR: It tastes weird.

WENDY HARMER: Can you be more specific when you say weird? Does it remind you of anything? When you taste it, you think this tastes like--


WENDY HARMER: All right. Just generally not impressed.

OSCAR: Yeah.

WENDY HARMER: Right. Oscar, your word is sneak today. Wendy was the best at hide and seek because she could sneak between different hiding spots. Sneak.

OSCAR: Sneak. S-N-E-A-K. Sneak.

WENDY HARMER: Well done. Thank you for that. And Rahni Cabahug is 11 years old. She's in year six at Hanwood Public School. Her favourite word is blossom. Aww. That is such a good word to love. Why do you like that word?

RAHNI: It's just the meaning of it. You can see people blossom, and you can see their true selves.

WENDY HARMER: All right. So it's got more than one meaning. I love that. That's very, very nice. When Rahni finishes school, she'd like to go to uni and become a doctor. So good luck with that. Your practice word today is handle. She pushed the handle to open the door to the classroom. Handle.

RAHNI: Handle. H-A-N-D-L-E. Handle.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you very much. Toby Spinks is 12 years old. He's at Thurgoona Public School. He likes Lano and Woodley. I love Lano and Woodley. Have you seen them live? Toby, have you ever been to see them in a show?

TOBY: Yes, we went once.

WENDY HARMER: They're hilarious, aren't they? I thought I was going to cry the last time I saw them. I laughed so much. They're brilliant. Your favourite word is, OK.

TOBY: Antidisestablishmentarianism?

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. Yeah. There is another one here though. There's another one that you put here. It starts with hippopo.

TOBY: Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia.


TOBY: The fear of long words.


WENDY HARMER: That's why he likes Lano and Woodley, because he's a bit of a comedian himself. Your practice word, Toby, is sleep. He didn't get much sleep last night because he was reading for hours. Sleep.

TOBY: Sleep. S-L-E-E-P. Sleep.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you very much. Amber Hughes is 11 and she's in year six at Balwara Public School. She likes the part of cooking where you get to lick the bowl. Absolutely. And your favourite word is-- can you remember what it was? Aurora! Why do you like that one?

AMBER: Hmm. I don't know.

WENDY HARMER: OK. And when you finish school you would like to travel the world and be a geochemist. What does a geochemist do exactly?

AMBER: Something about science and nature.


AMBER: I think.

WENDY HARMER: Well it sounds like you seem to be a bit of a free spirit, being out there in the aurora and be in nature. So your practice word today is grade. Amon was pleased with the grade he received for his science test. Grade.

AMBER: Grade. G-R-A-D-E. Grade.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you, Amber. Finn Efraemson is 11 years old and in year five at Narooma Public School. Well it's quite a big household that you've got there, I must say, Finn. Run us through who lives at your house.

FINN: My Mum, my dad, my sister, my dog, my horse, my four sheep, my two alpacas, my seven chooks. Think that's all.

WENDY HARMER: That is a big household. How does anyone get any sleep? Such a racket going on at your place. Your practice word today is ring. The restaurant's website was clear that it was important to ring early to make a booking. Ring.

FINN: Ring R-I-N-G. Ring.

WENDY HARMER: Well done. Thank you. Kirsten Brown is 12 years old. She's in year six at Fig Tree Public. Her favourite food is choc chip muffins. And your favourite word is a really big one. Tell us what it is.

KIRSTEN: Gargantuan

WENDY HARMER: What is it about gargantuan that makes you think, oh that's a good word.

KIRSTEN: I don't know. I just find the one really interesting, like the spelling.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. And the meaning of it is pretty good. Don't you know few people use it all that much. People just say huge when they could say gargantuan. that would be grand. Tennis is your word today. It was a close game of tennis, which seemed to go on forever. Tennis.

KIRSTEN: Tennis. T-E-N-N-I-S. Tennis.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that. Alessia Russell is 10 years old. She's in year five at Valentine Public School. Where is Valentine Public School? What a romantic name. Alisia?

ALESSIA: It's in Lake Macquarie.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, right. Well a nice part of the world. But you've had fires up there recently, haven't you? Yeah. So how did-- were you-- were your family safe in that?


WENDY HARMER: Well I'm glad to hear that. Your word today is never. It's never OK to speak in class without putting your hand up first. Never is the word.

ALESSIA: Never. N-E-V-E-R. Never.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that, Alessia. Bruce Zhang is 11 years old, in year five at Ermington Public. And his favourite movie is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. When he finishes school he'd like to be a neurologist. What attracts you about being a neurologist, Bruce?

BRUCE: I just like psychology, like how the brain works.

WENDY HARMER: And do you ever try and psychoanalyse your parents?


WENDY HARMER: Good. That's a good idea. Your practice word is many. There were many kites in the sky at the annual kite festival. Many.

BRUCE: Many. M-A-N-Y. Many.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Rion Iwano Min is 12 years old in year six at Randwick Public School. She likes art and she doesn't like rats, which I think is fair enough. Have you ever had a close encounter of the rat kind?


WENDY HARMER: You haven't. You just generally don't like the look of them?

RION: Yeah.

WENDY HARMER: You know that movie Ratatouie? You ever seen that? All I can think of is that it's just a rat in the kitchen, and it's not my favourite movie at all. If you had a superpower, it would be able to read minds. And you're really leaving it open. You haven't decided what you want to do when you leave school.


WENDY HARMER: No, nothing appearing yet? Thinking?


WENDY HARMER: OK. Your practice word today is green, Rion. The eucalyptus tree has green leaves all year round. Green.

RION: Green. G-R-E-E-N. Green.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Good luck, Rion. Sophie Yu is 11 and she's in year six at Baldface Public School. And tell us about your school where you are, Sophie.

SOPHIE: It's in Blakehurst and it's on the banks of the Georges River.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, right. OK. When you finish your school, you'd like to be an entrepreneur. So what attracts you to that?

SOPHIE: I like trying new things, I guess.

WENDY HARMER: Your practice word today is wonder. I wonder whether it will be sunny or rainy next Saturday. Wonder.

SOPHIE: Wonder. W-O-N-D-E-R. Wonder.

WENDY HARMER: That is correct. Thank you. Shelley Keith is 11 years old and in year six at Wattle Flat Public School. She likes reading, art, soccer, and swimming. Doesn't like bullying. And at home, well-- you've got a big menagerie as well. Tell us about your menagerie. How many animals have you got? You've got sheep, goats, chickens, Guinea pigs, alpacas, a dog, a cat, and a rabbit. Do you have to feed all of them?

SHELLEY: Not all of them.

WENDY HARMER: Have you got someone to help?

SHELLEY: My brother, sometimes, feeds the dogs and stuff.

WENDY HARMER: Well that's good. Otherwise I'll tell you what, you wouldn't have time to go to school. You'd have to feed all them. Your practice word, Shelley, is show. The Royal Easter Show is one of the best events every year in Sydney. Show.

SHELLEY: Show. S-H-O-W. Show.

WENDY HARMER: Good on you. Thank you for that. Santino Bande is 12 years old and in year six at Kieraville Public School. He likes reading, writing, and spending time with friends. And you admire William Shakespeare. And your favourite William Shakespeare play is?

SANTINO: Macbeth.

WENDY HARMER: Macbeth. OK. Why do you like that one?

SANTINO: Because in year five I had this class and we had to do a simple play on Macbeth.

WENDY HARMER: That turned you onto it, OK. And you're going to be an astrophysicist. You must have a very big brain, Santino. So we're glad that you're here. Your practice word is steak. Lucy wasn't sure if she felt like ordering pasta or a steak from the restaurant menu. Steak.

SANTINO: Steak. S-T-E-A-K. Steak.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that. Correct. Mikayla Fray. She's from Nimbin Central School. Her favourite TV show is Bluey. We were just here at the ABC talking about the fact that Bluey is coming back next year, Mikala. So you must be pleased with that. Do you have a favourite episode of Bluey or a favourite adventure?


WENDY HARMER: Yeah. You just like watching it every day?


WENDY HARMER: OK. And your favourite word is exquisite. That is fabulous word, I agree. And when she finishes school she wants to become an elite athlete. In which sport?

MIKAYLA: Athletics.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, fantastic. Which particular athletic sport?

MIKAYLA: Sprinting.

WENDY HARMER: Excellent. Good on you. Your word, Mikayla, today, is look. It is important to look both ways before you cross the road.

MIKAYLA: Look. L-O-OK. Look.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that. Caoimhe Brollo-McCarthy is 11 and in year six at Hamilton Public School. She likes books and admires her school principal, Mrs. Lindsay. Tell us about Mrs. Lindsay.

CAOIMHE: She's really nice to all the kids.


CAOIMHE: She's really nice.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, well that's great. Your favourite word is existentialist. Why is that your favourite word?

CAOIMHE: I don't know. It's just a good word.

WENDY HARMER: It's good to have in your kit, that one. Absolutely. Your practice word is shape. The shape of the opera house is said to resemble the sails of a boat. Shape.

CAOIMHE: Shape. S-H-A-P-E. Shape.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that. Erin Xavanna is 11 years old. She's at risk at Rous Public School, and her favourite movie, again we've got that Avengers Endgame. A few of you like that. Roald Dahl is your favourite too. You would like to be an actor. Do you see yourself in more comedy, romantic, or dramatic roles? Which do you think?

ERIN: I don't know.

WENDY HARMER: You're able to do all of them?

ERIN: Maybe.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. Versatile. I think I would say, don't block any one of those off because you could do all of them at once. That would be my advice. Here is your practice word. It is book. On Saturday because it was sunny, I sat outside under a tree and read my book.

ERIN: Book. B-O-O-K. Book.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that, Erin. Watch out for Erin. She's coming to a cinema near you one day. Fatima Abid. She is 12 years old in year six at Glenmore Public School. She doesn't like people sneezing on her. When was the last time someone sneezed on you?

FATIMA: I think this year my sister sneezed on me.

WENDY HARMER: What do you say to her in that instance?

FATIMA: I try not to hit her.

WENDY HARMER: I really admire your reserve there. That's a good thing. It's good not to hit your sister. Your practice word is teacher. The teacher spent the rest of the weekend preparing lessons for the following week. Teacher.

FATIMA: Teacher. T-E-A-C-H-E-R. Teacher.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. And be nice to your sister. Natan Sadykov is 11 years old in year five at Middleton Public. He likes reading and dislikes flies. What is it with flies, Nathan?

NATAN: They're annoying.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah, they are. When you finish school, you want to go home.


Did you write that?

NATAN: Yeah.

WENDY HARMER: Well fair enough, in that case. Your practice word is give. The teacher asked me to give her my work once I was done with it so it could be used as an example. Give.

NATHN: Give. G-I-V-E. Give.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that. And we have with us Manasvi Salaka. And she is 11 years old. She's in year six at Kingswood Public School. She doesn't like vegetables at all. No vegetables. What do your parents say about that?

MANASVI: They say that I have to eat vegetables?

WENDY HARMER: OK. Which is the least worst one? Which one can you kind of tolerate?

MANASVI: Potato.

WENDY HARMER: Yes, but everybody likes potatoes. After potatoes. Come on. What about peas?


WENDY HARMER: We could be here a long time, I think, so we should probably move on. Here is your word today. Feet. The sand had become so hot in the sun, it was burning their feet. Feet!

MANASVI: Feet. F-E-E-T. Feet.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Layla Smith is 12 years old and in year six at Lake Munmorah Public School. You play the piano and the flute?

LAYLA: Yeah.

WENDY HARMER: You're not a big vegetable fan either?

LAYLA: No, not really.

WENDY HARMER: Which is the worst one?

LAYLA: Broccoli.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah, well. Hands up who actually likes broccoli? Surprising. I think you might just be the majority. But only just. Layla, tell us. I would like you to spell for me, if you would. Work. That's your practice word today. Work. Teacher believes we all work quieter if there is some jazz music playing in the classroom. Work.

LAYLA: Work. W-O-R-K. Work.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. Kane Fletcher is 12-year-old. He's in Timbumburi Public School. Tell us where that is, Kane. Where is Timbumburi?

KANE: Timbumburi.

WENDY HARMER: That's a trap for young players. Where is it?

KANE: It's over in Tamworth, about a six hour drive.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, OK. How many kids go to your school?

KANE: I think right now about 140 to 170.

WENDY HARMER: All right. Do you see yourself staying in Tamworth or would you like to come to the city one day?

KANE: I feel like I might stay there for quite a while.

WENDY HARMER: Oh, good on you. Well, your word today is tell. He could not tell if it was a duckling or a baby goose in the cage. Tell.

KANE: Tell. T-E-L-L. Tell.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you for that. Sarah Syeda. She's 12 years old. She's in year six at Wiley Park Public. She admires Ash Barty because she's a great tennis player. She is a champion, don't you think, Sarah?


WENDY HARMER: And tell us why you like her.

SARAH: Well, she's really good at playing.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. She seems a very level headed nice person too.

SARAH: Yeah.

WENDY HARMER: Well when you finish school you'd like to go to uni and study biology. So I hope that you achieve that. Your practice word is other. Jonah was unsure if he left the book on this side or the other side of the library. Other.

SARAH: Other. O-T-H-E-R. Other.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you. And lucky last, Callan Peterson is 11 years old and in year five at New Lambton South Public School. He likes reading and tinkering with computers. Tinkering with computers? Do you take the back off them and stuff like that?

CALLAN: Yeah. Nothing good to them, but yeah.

WENDY HARMER: Well I'm really impressed because I love computers but I'm kind of terrified that if I do anything to them they'll never work again. Good on you. So your favourite word-- I love this-- is alfalfa. Why do you like that? It's got a nice sound to it.

CALLAN: It's just very nice to say. Alfalfa.

WENDY HARMER: Your practice work today, Callum, is debate. The candidates both had very good ideas at the debate. Debate.

CALLAN: Debate. D-E-B-A-T-E. Debate.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you very much indeed for that. So ladies and gentlemen, a big round of applause for all our competitors.


ANNOUNCER: Jonas Kappelmann

WENDY HARMER: Axolotl. We kept our axolotl in a separate tank from our goldfish. Axolotl.

JONAS: Can you please repeat the word?


JONAS: A-C-S-E-L-O-T-L. Axolotl.

WENDY HARMER: No. I'm sorry that's not right. Axolotl. A-X-O-L-O-T-L. Axolotl. The world's most boring pet. River Robinson Proscenium. The narrator of the play delivered her opening speech standing on the proscenium, and then the curtain went up. Proscenium.

RIVER: Can you please repeat the word?

WENDY HARMER: Proscenium.

RIVER: And sentence.

WENDY HARMER: The narrator of the play delivered her opening speech standing on the proscenium, and then the curtains went up. Proscenium.

RIVER: Proscenium. P-R-O-S-C-E-N-I-U-M. Proscenium.


ANNOUNCER: Akshath Senthil.

WENDY HARMER: Recidivism. The rate of recidivism among people who have been to prison is very high. Recidivism.

AKSHATH: Recidivism. R-E-S-C-I-D-I-V-I-S-M. Recidivism.

WENDY HARMER: No, I'm afraid that's incorrect. R-E-C-I-D-I-V-I-S-M.

AKSHATH: Thank you.

WENDY HARMER: Thank you.

ANNOUNCER: Albert Zhou.

WENDY HARMER: Neuropsychiatry. My sister is researching neuropsychiatry because she wants to research ailments which involve mental health and the nervous system. Neuropsychiatry.

ALBERT: Could you repeat the word and sentence, please?

WENDY HARMER: Sure. Neuropsychiatry. My sister is studying neuropsychiatry because she wants to research ailments which involve mental health and the nervous system.

ALBERT: Neuropsychiatry. N-E-U-R-O-P-S-I-A-T-R-Y. Neuropsychiatry.

WENDY HARMER: I'm afraid that is incorrect. It's N-E-U-R-O-P-S-Y-C-H-I-A-T-R-Y.

ALBERT: Thank you.

WENDY HARMER: I think that means--


We have a winner!


River Robinson

I notice that you are very slow and thoughtful speller. And when you spell out words I think I'm nearly going to have a heart attack. Just thinking, oh is he going to get it or not? How do you do that? What's your process or technique?

RIVER: In the list I try to remember the words, but in the unseen, like when I'm spelling the words I go through all the combinations of how the sounds can be spelled, and then I try to work out what looks right to me. And just heaps of practice as well.

WENDY HARMER: Heaps of practice. We can tell. Super. And we should tell you that River is 12 years old. He's in year six at Yamba Public School. You are going to go home like a hero, my friend. He is the one that you will remember he would like to have a superpower so he can go and check the surf. Surfing must be a really good time for you to through this in your head. Am I right?

RIVER: Yeah.

WENDY HARMER: Good on you. Well congratulations once more.


And let's invite all the children to come back to the stage. Congratulations to Albert who is our runner up today. Well done, Albert. A round of applause.



Let me tell you a little bit about Albert. He is 12 years old, in year six at Asheville Public School. He likes cats. You'll remember Albert is someone who spends a lot of time with his cats. Tell us about your technique, Albert.

ALBERT: When I'm trying to spell a word I tried to break it up into different parts and see if they fit well together.

WENDY HARMER: Yeah. So you're sort of like doing word lego in your head.


WENDY HARMER: Yeah. Well, well done you. Congratulations.


Thank you all very much for your time today. I've really enjoyed it. This is the second year that I've been the MC for this. And it is really a joy. I love being here and just watching how extraordinarily clever you all are. And congratulations for all making it through to the competition. You're the tippity tippity top already, so well done you. And I hope that when you go home to school that everyone very much celebrates your great success. Thanks. Thanks.


PAUL MARSHALL: Ladies and gentlemen, today's runner up, can we please congratulate again Albert Zhou from Asheville Public School.



And please congratulate today's winner of the Senior State Champion of the 2019 Premier Spelling Bee, River Robinson from Yamba Public School. Applause So students, if you could please come to the front when your name is called to receive your medallion, certificate, and prizes, that would be fantastic. If we could just give River another huge round of applause. Congratulations, River. got your hands full there.

So we'll work through quickly calling each student up. So listen for your name and come up and receive your prizes. Jonas Kappelmann from Mona Vale Public School. Brendan Doyle from Pottsville Beach Public School. Jasmine Schmitt from Evans River Community School. Layla Wicks from Aldavilla Public School. Tara Laraghy from Ulladulla Public School Rishit Singh from Parramatta Public School.

Zachary Glover from Bateau Bay Public School. Alex Zhang from Gosford Public School. Gosford Public School. Sophie Lane from Carinda Public School. Anagh Halder from Cobbitty Public School. Homebush West Public School. Rachael Tran Do from Canley Vale Public School. Akshath Senthil from Homebush West Public School. Kai Smith from Hay Public School. Mnhar Lamba from Barnier Public School. Yash Singla from Colyton Public School.

Rory Husband from Glen Innes School. Lena Zhu from Sutherland Public School. Anneliese Rothe from Young Public School. Thanh Tran from Summer Hill Public School. Daniel Cho from Hornsby South Public School. Ethan Li from West Pymble Public School. Maxim Ceccato from Foster Public School.

Kiara Howson from Nulkaba Public School. Mia Evans from Jerranbomberara Public School Jerrabomberra Sorry. Dylan Lugstein from Chipping Norton Public School. Oscar Zhang from Connels Point Public School. Rhani Cabahug from Hanwood Public School. Toby Spinks from Thurgoona Public School. Amber Hughes from Bolwarra Public School.

Finn Efraemson from Narooma Public School. Kristen Brown from Fig Tree Public School. Alessia Russel from Valentine Public School. Bruce Zhang from Ermington Public School. Rion Iwano Min from Randwick Public School. Sophie Yu from Bald Face Public School. Shelley Keith from Wattle Flat Public School. Santino Bande from Keiraville Public School.

Mikayla Frey from Nimbin Central School. Caoimhe Brollo-McCarthy from Hamilton Public School. Erin Xavanna from Ruse Public School. Fatimah Abid from Glenmore Park Public School. Natan Sadykov from Middleton Public School. Manasvi Salaka from Kingswood Public School. Layla Smith from Lake Munmorah Public School. Kane Fletcher from Timbumuri Public School. Sarah

Syeda from Wiley Park Public School. And Callan Peterson from New Lambton South Public School. So I'd like to thank our special guests who helped present for us. Rosemary Davis, director of arts, sports, and initiatives. And the arts unit and John Benson, leader of the arts unit. Also Paul Mitchell from MTA. Thank you very much for coming along today and helping to present there for us.

And lastly, I'd just like to thank the student officials of Jasper Road Public School for doing an outstanding job. And again Thank you.


Our wonderful announcer Wendy Hammer, and of course, today's contestants.

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