Terranora Public School’s word whiz-kid Dylan Cottee and his spelling coach Robyn Harcourt.
Terranora Public School’s word whiz-kid Dylan Cottee and his spelling coach Robyn Harcourt. Blainey Woodham

Win not on itinerary

DYLAN Cottee’s spelling coach has no doubt he is the best speller for his age in the state.

Unfortunately, a differing in the pronunciation of the word “itinerary” has stopped the 11-year-old from taking out the coveted title.

Dylan came third in the New South Wales Premier’s Spelling Bee on Wednesday night and his family, teachers and classmates could not be more proud.

“When I walked into class this morning everyone clapped and cheered,” spelling whiz-kid Dylan said.

Dylan won a medal, certificate and dictionary but said he was most excited about the new laptop his family gave him.

However, Dylan’s spelling coach Robyn Harcourt said the Year 6 Terranora Public School student does not need a dictionary because he is a walking one.

“There were 1500 words he could have been given and he knew all of them.

“He had an incredible run of very difficult words, including susceptible and perpetuity.”

Sadly, Dylan was put off during the competition when the announcer pronounced itinerary differently to how he had been practising it.

“The competition is run by the Macquarie Dictionary and the pronunciation is down to them,” Mrs Harcourt said.

“They said it as ‘itinery’, but Dylan’s mum and I had always pronounced it as ‘itinerary’.”

Mrs Harcourt said they were disappointed but did not feel robbed.

“It happened to someone else. It was just the luck of the draw.

“We’re absolutely delighted we’ve got the third best primary school speller in New South Wales.”

Mrs Harcourt said Dylan works very hard but has always had a natural gift for spelling.

“When he was in pre-school he went in to tell the teachers they’d spelt helmet wrong on their sign.

“I’ve been teaching for 36 years and he is the most-gifted speller I’ve ever seen.”

When Dylan grows up he said he wants to be a computer and software designer.



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