Yass Public School (YPS) held its annual Great Yass Spelling Bee last Friday, and young local Eve Williams came away victorious against fierce competition.
Over 50 parents turned up and filled out the YPS hall to watch their children take part.
The kids were divided up into six Spelling Mastery Groups, named from ‘A’ to ‘F’, which then had a series of competitions to decide the champions of each group.
Once each group had a representative champion, these six children took to the stage to demonstrate their vocabularies in front of a surprisingly tense crowd and decide an overall winner.
The six finalists competing for the champion spot were Eve Williams (the eventual winner), Lachlan Penfold, Jock Keith, Inika Sainsbury, Carly Connor, and Rose Ryan.
Eve’s mother Karen was present at the bee, and although she was nervous watching the event unfold, she was gratified to see her daughter raise the trophy which now holds “pride of place” on the family mantelpiece.
“I was [nervous] on that last word,” Mrs Williams said.
“’Preservative’ was the last word she had to spell to win, so that was a little bit nerve-wracking.”
Before the competition, Ms Williams revealed, her daughter also suffered from a bout of nerves.
“She was a bit nervous about how she’d go, and she ended up winning,” Mrs Williams said.
Eve’s love of reading is largely to thank for her success in the annual spelling bees – she was runner up in last year’s edition – and Mrs Williams acknowledged the calibre of the other spellers competing.
“She was up against some stiff competition from the kids at Yass Public, that’s for sure,” she said.
“She is an avid reader, and she sees the value in [language].”
Event organiser Donna Barton said that even she was biting her nails watching the kids compete.
“The excitement, the buildup, knowing that if this person gets this word wrong … this other person’s the winner,” Ms Barton said.
“It was just huge, the buildup was huge. We sat there biting our nails just about.”
This is the third year that the spelling bee has run at YPS, and it initially came about after a request from one of the students to his parents, Eddie and Sarah Cummings.
Mr and Mrs Cummings took the idea to the school, who adopted it and have turned it into a successful event.
Mr Cummings also acted as the Wordmaster this year, and it was his role to read the words out for the students and provide them with definitions and examples if they so asked.
Ms Barton believes part of the reason it has been such a resounding success with children and parents alike is the professionalism with which it is run.
“It’s just fantastic, the way it’s run, it’s like those [professional] spelling bees,” she said.