Top spellers off to Nationals

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Wordsmiths Laura Snell and Isabella Eftimov are heading to Auckland to put their spelling skills to the test in the National Spelling Bee Finals.

The two Queen Margaret College students have qualified for the National Final after battling it out against 57 other top spellers at the Wellington Regional Semi-Final Competition.

“Having been through the most nerve-wracking experience of my life, I was euphoric when I get into the top eight,” Laura says.

“We feel very proud and lucky to have made it to the finals, especially because there were so many other good spellers,” Isabella adds.

The final will be held in Auckland from Wednesday 24 August to Friday 26 August.

Year 9 students Laura and Isabella will be competing against some of the strongest spellers around the country for a $5,000 prize and the much coveted title of New Zealand Spelling Bee winner.

Queen Margaret College is the only school this year to have two contestants reach the National Finals from the lower North Island region.

Fellow Queen Margaret College students Gwenn Rivoallan-Jones and Lauren Pemberton also qualified for and competed in the Wellington Regional Competition with Isabella and Laura.

They were among the 200 top spellers from around the country.

Laura and Isabella are excited about the upcoming final but in the meantime they are practising new words at every opportunity.

To prepare for the competition, the girls have been learning and reviewing difficult words every day and reading articles for new vocabulary.

Isabella finds words that come from different languages are the most difficult.

“I find German words in particular quite difficult, like schadenfreude and blitzkrieg,” she says.

Laura says she faced some challenging words in the regionals, including Hodiernal, Chanticleer and Trenchant.

“To prepare I’ve found lists of words from different languages on the internet and practise with my parents whenever I can,” Laura comments.

She has dreamed of competing in the Spelling Bee since she was eight years old and is looking forward to the finals.