Students were given the silent consonant treatment last week at the regional finals of the NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee.
And there was no chance to homophone a friend when faced with the quandary of ‘dough’ and ‘doe’.
Nambucca Heads Public School, under the coordination of teacher Adrian Herron, hosted the event which saw the best four spellers from 18 schools on the Mid North Coast compete in a spelling bee knockout for the chance to enter the state finals.
The juniors (grades 3 and 4) breezed through the first couple of rounds, having clearly drilled their 122-page-long word list.
But round four spelled disaster for half of the finalists, who tongue-tripped over words that would make a librarian blush.
To spell it out for you—‘the p-r-e-p-o-s-t-e-r-o-u-s d-i-s-p-e-r-s-a-l of the m-o-n-o-c-l-e-d c-o-m-m-u-t-e-r because of a d-e-f-e-c-t-i-v-e A-n-t-a-r-c-t-i-c t-h-e-r-m-o-s-t-a-t’— proved hazardous for all but four wily competitors.
Two students each from Kororo Public School and Aldavilla Public School battled in a sudden death through nine rounds until Layla Wicks of Aldavilla Public was crowned spelling queen bee, with Isaac Murphy of Kororo Public taking out second place.
Layla, an avid reader, was delighted with her win.
“I can’t believe I get to go to Sydney. My sister got to go last time when she won,” Layla said.
Joanna O’Donnell from the Premier’s arts department was appointed judge over proceedings at Nambucca Heads Public School.
“There were some tough words in there,” Ms O’Donnell said.
“And they were made harder because we were to use an Australian pronunciation.
"I think everyone did extremely well.”
In the senior competition (grades 5 and 6), Isaac Gorline-Singleman of Crescent Head Public School reigned supreme, with Jade Bllair from Toormina Public School nipping at his heels.
All four winners were awarded a Maquarie dictionary and will be heading to Sydney on November 8.
This story originally appeared on the Guardian News.