After a two-year hiatus as a result of COVID, Vicspell is again up and running.

Founded in 2004 by Gippsland volunteer teachers, originally as Gippspell, the competition takes a spelling bee format and is open to all students in Years 5 to 8 and is aimed to ‘promote and reward good spelling’.

The zone finals are based on shire boundaries. Colour certificates and a handsome glass trophy for zone winners are awarded to each school representative. State final winners win bigger trophies and the Oxford two-volume National Dictionary. Importantly, students only compete against their respective year level.

Past state final winners from this shire include Jonty Simmons (Gippsland Grammar School 2005/6), Teuila Jarvis (Gippsland GS, 2007), Kyung Stewart (Cowwarr Primary School, 2009/11), Hayley Kinnish (Sale Catholic College, 2009), Cassie Byrne (Gippsland GS, 2009), Paige Bratt (St Mary’s Sale, 2011), Serena Lees (Sale CC, 2012), Leeanne Tan (Wellington Secondary College, 2014), Maya Cairnes (Sale CC, 2018), Josiah Levchenko (St Anne’s GGS, 2019), Gretel Harms (GGS Sale, 2019), Josiah Gubaton (Guthridge PS, 2022) and Nat Morrey (Yarram SC, 2022).

Each school pays a one-off annual fee of $20, covering each student participant.

This fee (which barely covers the trophies) has remained unchanged since 2004 thanks to the generosity of Vicspell’s sponsors: Oxford University Press, Bendigo Community Bank – Neerim South and Triangle Trophies.

The zone finals occur in August, and the state final on September 12. The Wellington zone final will be at Heyfield Primary School on Friday, August 25.

Schools wishing to inquire about Vicspell can email Trevor Sowdon at Vicspell@hotmail.com.