Mr O’Farrell said more than 131,000 students took part in the competition this year vying to be named Junior and Senior Spelling Bee State Champions.
“The 87 students with their thinking caps on today should be very proud to have already made it through many rounds of competition,” Mr O’Farrell said.
“It’s encouraging to see hundreds of NSW public schools getting behind the initiative that aims to advance the fundamental literacy skills of students.
“More than 131,000 students from years three to six participated in the first round of the Spelling Bee from Tempe and Meadowbank Public Schools in Sydney, to Bowral and Warren Public Schools in regional NSW.
“I’d also like to make special mention of the ambitious students taking part from Winmalee Public School and Lapstone Public School after the bush fire crisis.
“The competition has come a long way since its first year in 2004 when 800 students took part and I look forward to many more schools coming on board in 2014.
“The NSW Government is committed to improving public education. We’ve employed an additional 500 full-time-equivalent teachers since the election and funded the construction of 15 new or relocated schools, as well as major upgrades of 30 others.”
Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said the Premier’s Spelling Bee was an example of the opportunities offered to students in NSW public schools.
“We set high literacy and numeracy targets for our students, and it’s inspiring to see their enthusiasm throughout this competition,” Mr Piccoli said.
“To illustrate how tough the competition is, last year’s Junior division completed the final round spelling words such as ‘euphonium’ and ‘sebaceous’.
“Those in the Senior division were faced with ‘acquiesce’ and ‘rhododendron’ as chosen by official word list supplier, Macquarie Dictionary,” he said.