Spelling champ d-e-l-i-g-h-t-e-d

Logan Park High School year 9 pupil George Sabonadiere (13) was crowned New Zealand Spelling Bee Champion at the annual competition in Wellington on Saturday.  Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Logan Park High School year 9 pupil George Sabonadiere (13) was crowned New Zealand Spelling Bee Champion at the annual competition in Wellington on Saturday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
George Sabonadiere loves words, and there is one he loves more than most.

That is E-U-G-E-N-I-C-S, the word he successfully spelt to claim theNew Zealand Spelling Bee Champion title on Saturday.

The Logan Park High School year 9 pupil is one of the youngest winners of the annual competition, now in its 10th year.

''I just love words,'' he said yesterday.

The secret to the Dunedin schoolboy's success was studying the dictionary and being regularly tested by family members.

Before the Wellington final, he was most nervous about spelling medical terms, and was delighted it was eugenics - the science of improving the human race through selective breeding - that clinched the win.

That win came after 12 rounds of spelling against 15 finalists from around the country - including runner-up Russell Eskildsen (13), of Auckland, and third-placed Alex Leckie-Zaharic (13), of Dunedin's John McGlashan College.

Not surprisingly, languages, Latin and French, featured prominently in George's education, and maths could also come in handy, after he won $5000 in prize money.

• The words George spelled were: unenviable, ochre, weevil, charisma, mendacity, ameliorate, ethereal, proliferate, ambidextrous, synchronicity, blasphemous and eugenics.

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