Scarlett makes a bee line to spelling glory

A young Kiama Public School student has excelled at the 2018 Premier’s Spelling Bee.

Scarlett Seres, 12, was one of a record 170,000 students from about 1000 NSW government primary, central and community schools to be tested in the spelling bee.

Divided into junior and senior categories, the top 100 students travelled to Sydney to face off in the state final, which was held at the Eugene Goossens Hall, ABC Centre, Ultimo, on Friday, November 2.

Scarlett started alongside 50 other participants, which slowly dwindled to 10 students who all made it to level seven of the competition. 

She was given the word ‘pomegranate’, which she spelt correctly, however Scarlett then restarted and spelt it with a double ‘m’ which was incorrect. 

The next six students to follow were also eliminated, leaving three to compete in level eight for top honours.

Generously, one of the officials commented to Scarlett, that even though she finished in equal fourth place with the other six students, because her first spelling of the word was correct Scarlett was the fourth place holder.

Dionissia Tsirigos, Marianne Powles, Victoria Morgan, John Benson, Scarlett Seres. Andrew Lasatis.

Dionissia Tsirigos, Marianne Powles, Victoria Morgan, John Benson, Scarlett Seres. Andrew Lasatis.

Scarlett said she practised a lot in the lead up to the competition.

“Each day I would get home and write down the words and memorise them,” she said.

“I would also write down the definitions and origins which helped me not only to remember the word, but if I forgot it, then I might be able to remember the definition or origin which would give me a hint.”

Scarlett said she did experience some nervous moments prior to the state final. 

“Whenever I felt nervous, Mum and I would talk about how nervousness is the same physical response as excitement,” she said.

“This helped me get through being nervous.”

Scarlett’s outstanding achievement was definitely the result of a collective effort.

“I had worked so hard and to get to the state competition, to represent my school and southern region was an amazing reward,” she said.

“My goal was to reach regional level and I topped it, so that made me really proud and happy.

“Having the support of my mum, my grandmother, and my teacher Mrs Carney and her husband was an extra bonus.”

Scarlett’s mother Megan said she was “blown away” by the way Scarlett took the entire experience in her stride.

“She showed resilience, dedication and humility before, during and after the spelling bee,” she said. 

“We would like to thank Kiama Public School for teaching our students great sportsmanship and allowing them a place to shine.”

About the Premier’s Spelling Bee

The Premier’s Spelling Bee was introduced in 2004 as a fun and educational way for primary school students to engage in spelling. 

The program includes activities to encourage all students to improve their vocabulary and spelling and to promote literacy skills in combination with the English K-6 Syllabus.

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