Bulli Public School's very own Esther Cooney Button showed off her spelling skills at the state spelling bee competition held in Sydney.
The Year 4 student competed with the best spellers in NSW public schools in the annual Premier's Spelling Bee at the ABC studios on Friday, November 3.
Esther said the state competition was much harder than the regional and Bulli Public school competitions.
The junior competitors, in Years 2 to 4, were tested on words like 'tortellini', 'camembert', and 'naive'.
"My mum tested me on some words and we basically did that a lot," Esther said.
In the finals, Esther made it to round three as she competed against 29 other students across the state in the junior Premier's Spelling Bee.
Esther was introduced by ABC broadcaster Indira Naidoo and given a practice word 'soccer' to spell at the start of the competition.
"Esther is a bit Matilda's obsessed. The person she admires most is Sam Kerr because Esther believes Sam is an amazing role model for women and girls and that she's the best striker ever," Indira Naidoo said in a supplied video.
Students are given a list of words to practice from but after the first three rounds, they move on to 'unseen' words.
"We started with words that were on the list, but then we moved on to words that weren't on the list. Some of the unseen words were really hard," Esther said.
The unseen word that 10-year-old Esther tackled with was 'malleable'.
Esther's mum Jess Cooney said the competition was quite formal, with students sitting at the stage, compared to the regional competition held over a Zoom video call.
"It was really exciting. We were just really there for the experience," Ms Cooney said.
"We're very, very proud of her that she made it that far."
The 2023 senior competition for Years 5 to 6 was so fierce that the ABC reported the top two spellers faced off for 12 rounds, including seven levels of unseen words like 'croquembouche' and 'plenipotentiary'.
Among the senior competitors was Towradgi Public School year six student April Cussen.
The 12-year-old reached round two of the esteemed NSW Premier's Spelling Bee.
Her challenging word was 'taciturn', an adjective which describes a person being reserved or uncommunicative when speaking.
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The Premier's Spelling Bee included 60 students from 56 schools, which were narrowed down after a series of regional finals of 1720 students from 880 public schools.
NSW Premier Chris Minns said he's proud to support the 20th edition of the spelling bee.
"Literacy is a key plank in our education system. To be able to engage students in a fun competition that shines a spotlight on language skills is a win for everyone," he said.
Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said it's great to see the competition going strong after 20 years.
"Getting our children interested in the lifelong skills of reading and spelling is a wonderful achievement," she said.
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