Frederik Thai wins regional Spelling Bee

All the answers: Frederik Thai. Picture: Chris Lane
All the answers: Frederik Thai. Picture: Chris Lane

Can you spell g-e-n-i-u-s on the first try? How about if I use it in a sentence.

Frederik Thai is a spelling genius.

The thing about that sentence is it is actually true.

The eight-year-old (who turns nine on Saturday) is in the running to be the state’s best speller after winning the Regional Finals of the NSW Premier’s Spelling Bee.

The Harrington Street Public School pupil was the last man standing in the 13-round regional tournament that featured 42 local schools and won the title when he correctly spelled i-m-p-e-r-i-o-u-s.

“It was amazing to win,” he said.

“In the third last round I actually got the word delegate wrong but because everyone else got their words wrong too I got another chance. 

“In the final round the other girl spelt souvenir wrong and I won.”

It’s not his first spelling success. The Greenfield Park resident has won competitions every year he has been at school.

His secret is simple.

“I practice at home and read a lot and every now and then my mum tries to trick me to spell random words.

Frederik Thai

“I sound out the words in my head,” Frederik said.

“I practice at home and read a lot and every now and then my mum tries to trick me to spell random words.

“I really like the challenging words and trying to spell them.”

Frederik is using the dictionary and thesaurus he won at the regionals to good use.

He is working his way through the dictionary in preparation for the Spelling Bee State Final on November 8.

He is up to the letter ‘d’ as he familiarises himself with the six or more letter words to get a leg-up on the 86 students he will face in the junior division.

Winning a spot in the state final is quite an achievement, with around 3200 students from almost 1000 public schools across NSW competing in the regional finals.

Frederik, who one day hopes to be a neurosurgeon, is covering all bases when it comes to his spelling. Even memorising words like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins.

“When I don’t know a word I first try to sound it out and then I look at it over and over until it gets stuck in my head,” he said.


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