Perse pupil spells out first-class French in national language finals

Liz Aboy (Year 7) displayed French finesse to finish third in the national finals of the Foreign Language Spelling Bee.

Both she and fellow Perse pupil Isobel Hammond (Year 7) qualified for the national finals at Cambridge University, with Isobel participating in the Spanish section.

They both had to learn 300 words in preparation for the national finals, which saw students given a word in English that they had to translate into the relevant language before saying the spelling aloud.

Participants had just one minute to get as many translations and spellings right as possible, with only the top four in each category making it through to the grand final.

Isobel narrowly missed out on qualifying despite a valiant attempt, but Liz did extremely well to reach the deciding stage.

However, having made it to the grand final, Liz had to take part in a couple of tiebreak rounds and even a sudden-death ‘spell-off’, in which contestants took it in turns to translate words, so little was there to choose between the finalists.

She said: “I didn’t think I’d made it through to the grand final because some people were very fast. The grand final was very stressful, with so many tiebreakers and then sudden death, but I’m happy about how I did.

“For the amount of work I put in, it was a good outcome. I’m usually quite relaxed until a few days before the next round and then I start getting into it, and it worked as a strategy for me through the whole competition.”

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