He may not have won, but Forster Public School's Maxim Ceccato did himself proud at the Premier's Spelling Bee State final in Sydney on Friday, November 8.
The youngest competitor in the senior division at just 10 years old, Maxim spelled all the words he was given from the seen list successfully before he and the other remaining competitors progressed onto the unseen list.
Unfortunately, Maxim came unstuck on the word 'palatial', but it's unlikely he'll ever spell it wrong again.
"The words you get out on you never forget," he said.
Despite that little hiccup, he was happy with his performance and happy with the experience, even if it was a bit nerve-wracking.
"My heart was beating 200 beats per minute whenever I went up to the microphone," he said.
"I was the youngest competitor so I have a better chance next year."
And next year's competition is definitely on his radar, with the Year 5 student telling his mother afterwards that he wanted to win in 2020.
"I guess I'll read heaps and keep on studying the list and hope I get easy words," Maxim said of his plan of attack.
And there's some pretty good incentives for a talented young speller to want to win the event, with this year's victors being awarded a drone each.
Not that Maxim wasn't happy with the prizes he walked away with.
"We got headphones and a book and a massive dictionary," he said.
"Not only do you get prizes, you also get food afterwards."
The Premier's Spelling Bee has been running since 2004 and this year attracted a record 170,000 students from 1006 public schools across NSW.
The State final was held at the Eugene Goosens Hall in the ABC Centre at Ultimo.
Yamba Public School Year 6 student River Robinson won the senior division while Hannah Moore from Hornsby South Public School won the junior division.
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