Jotham makes spelling bee final

00:02, Aug 20 2014
GOING FOR THE TOP: Horowhenua College student Jotham Harris placed third in the 2013 New Zealand Vegemite Spelling Bee.

A Horowhenua College student is one of 12 teenagers heading to the spelling bee national final after placing first equal in the lower North Island regional competition.

Four students won places in the New Zealand Spelling Bee final, including Horowhenua year 10 boy Jotham Harris, at the lower North Island contest at Circa Theatre in Wellington this week.

Jotham, who placed third in last year's national event, survived 11 tense rounds, correctly spelling "nebulous" to finish first equal with Andrew Tang, of Scots College, and Angela Montenegro, of Newlands College, who spelt "travesty" and "shrewdness" respectively.

Jackson Lacy, of Scots College, correctly spelt "vehement" to take fourth spot.

The group will now compete against 12 other finalists from throughout New Zealand at the finals in Wellington on October 18.

Event manager Janet Lucas said it was hugely rewarding to see enthusiasm and skill were still there after 10 years of running the competition. "It is a huge accomplishment to get this far in the competition," Lucas said.


"A total of 200 spellers from around the country advance to the semifinals after classroom spelling bees. The top spellers then compete in one of the regional spelling bees. From those competitions, 16 finalists are chosen and will be studying hard to become the national spelling bee champion in a couple of months' time."

The winner is crowned New Zealand's Spelling Bee champion, which comes with a trophy and $5000 prize.

School's Out director Wayne Wright said student participation in the spelling bee was greater than ever. "It shows that students are still keen to develop their orthography skills and challenge themselves. Spelling bees can be as much fun and as mentally demanding as physical sports."

The best spellers are taken from a pool of year 9 and 10 students from throughout New Zealand.

Manawatu Standard