Most teenage boys play video games in their spare time - Nicholas Kondal reads the dictionary.
It's this hobby that has helped the Massey High School student reach the finals of the New Zealand Vegemite Spelling Bee.
The 15-year-old says spelling comes naturally to him so he decided to enter the competition.
"I've been good at spelling all my life so I thought I would give this a go."
Nicholas spends one hour a day preparing for the spelling bee by going over word lists, reading the dictionary and studying language origins. It does help that he can speak some Spanish, Hindi, and Punjabi as well as English he says.
"I normally ask for the definition of the word in the competition so I know exactly what the word is and I ask for the language of origin, for example if a word is from the Italian language it might use two t's."
The spelling star came fourth at the Auckland regionals, missing out on the top spot due to mis-spelling "perjury".
Words that have three or more vowels together are his weakness, he says.
His teacher Laura Snow is proud of Nicholas' achievements and hard work.
"It's a big accomplishment and it says a lot about the school and the students and what they are willing to take on, on top of their everyday school work."
The spelling bee aims to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, and develop correct usage of the English language.
A total of 208 year nine and 10 students from around the country - eight of those from Massey High School - managed to spell their way into one of the regional spelling bees.
The competition has been narrowed down to 16 finalists who will compete in Wellington in October.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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