Speller eyes perennial success
Memorising the spelling of perennial, diminutive and scrupulous won Cantabrian Lily MacMillun a place in the final of this year's New Zealand Spelling Bee.
The Geraldine High School pupil came first in yesterday's semifinal in Christchurch by correctly spelling the word "perennial" in the final round against Villa Maria College pupils Jess Charlton and Hannah Warner.
Year 9 pupil Jess took out second place after tripping on the word "diminutive", while fellow year 9 pupil Hannah secured third after stumbling on "scrupulous".
The top three spellers will go to the national final in Wellington on October 18 to compete against 15 other finalists from around the country.
The winning speller will be crowned New Zealand's Spelling Bee Champion and will receive $5000 cash.
Organiser Janet Lucas said the spellers at yesterday's event were "really enthusiastic", but some felt the pressure.
"There were a few tears. It's really nerve-racking and tense," she said. "It's hard to know who's the most nervous out of the spellers and parents."
The nation's best spellers came from a pool of 200 entrants from year 9 and 10 classes.