OXON HILL, Md. - Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-old boy from Bayside Hills, New York, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday by correctly spelling "knaidel," a kind of dumpling.
Mahankali, a student at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School, had finished third in the contest twice before, each time stumbling on German words. This year, the packed auditorium erupted in a standing ovation when he nailed "knaidel," which comes from German-derived Yiddish.
"I thought, 'The German curse had turned into a German blessing,'" he said of his victory. "It means I can retire on a good note."
Mahankali, who wants to become a quantum physicist, defeated 10 other finalists. Asked what he planned to do during his summer vacation, he said he planned to study physics.
He said he would use the $30,000 cash prize for college.