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Alice Spring students ready to take on Spelling Bee

Diana Jenkins, March 24, 2021 10:41AM Kids News

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Students from Ross Park Primary School in Alice Springs, NT, are taking part in the 2021 Prime Minister's Spelling Bee. media_cameraStudents from Ross Park Primary School in Alice Springs, NT, are taking part in the 2021 Prime Minister's Spelling Bee.

spelling bee

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More than 20,000 students from all corners of Australia have signed up to sit the 2021 Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee.

Young spellers, including these children from Ross Park Primary School in the NT, have until 6pm (AEDT) on Friday, March 26, to sit the school round of the competition.

When Kids News visited the Alice Springs school, teacher Maddie Leahy’s Year 3/4 composite class was abuzz with busy Bees.

Few participating students are further away from their fellow entrants than these students who live and learn on the outskirts of the outback.

Ross Park Primary student Dinuli Perera, 9, said the trick was trying to pronounce a word aloud before attempting to spell it. Spelling was also a team effort, she said.

“When things are hard to spell, I get some help from my classmates and parents,” Dinuli said. “I like the word ‘science’, but it’s actually hard to spell ‘science’ because there is a silent letter ‘c’.”

Classmate Francesca Karpeles, 8, agreed that sounding out a word helped with spelling it.

“If I’m not quite sure how to spell something, I’ll try my best to ask questions and I can try and spell it out,” she said. “I like spelling because it’s really kind of fun and I like spelling tests.”

media_cameraRoss Park Primary School students are looking forward to sitting the school round of the Spelling Bee.

Ms Leahy said the contest element of the Bee was part of the appeal for her class.

“I think it is very important and it’s a great opportunity for the kids to do something with spelling in a fun way,” she said.

“I think the kids really enjoy the competitive side of the Spelling Bee. It’s got the timed aspect as well, so it makes it that little bit more exciting to do the spelling test.”

Alastair Sheriff, one of the staff members co-ordinating* the Bee at Ross Park Primary School, said participating nationally was part of the Bee’s appeal.

“It’s great to see the kids’ skills and because it’s right across Australia, you get to see kids from all over the place able to do it,” he said.

It's the PM's Spelling Bee!

Student Liam Goodes, 9, who likes writing stories, said it was important to know how to spell well because it helped people communicate.

“Say you were writing a really important message, it’s important that you spell it properly so that the reader of the message knows what it actually says, they don’t have to guess what the word is,” Liam said.

When Kids News asked the students what they wanted to be when they grew up, and how spelling might one day help them reach their career goals, hands shot up across the class. There’s a future midwife* or nurse, marine biologist*, pilot, actor and much more.

“I’ve got four things,” said Dinuli. “I want to be a scientist, a biologist, a story writer and someone who looks into the stars.”

A quick spell check of “astronomy*” among the group showed they were ready to tackle the Bee.

The Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee is a free online competition for students in Year 3 to Year 8. Prizes include iPads and a trip to Canberra to meet the Prime Minister for the national age group winners, and $1000 vouchers for their schools to spend on books, technology or other equipment.

See for more information.

Matt Stanton – the Prime Minister's Spelling Bee


  • AEDT: Australian Eastern Daylight Time
  • co-ordinating: organising
  • midwife: a nurse who is trained to deliver babies
  • marine biologist: person who studies sea life
  • astronomy: the study of the universe and space


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