George Sabonadiere NZ's Spelling Bee Champ!

By Kristan Mouat | Posted: Sunday October 19, 2014

Congratulations to Year 9 student George Sabonadiere who won the National Spelling Bee title in October in Wellington. George competed against 15 other Year 9 and 10 regional representatives to win.

After 12 rounds, George was in the final pairing against Russell Eskildsen from Massey High School in Auckland. Russell tripped up on "toreador" with George easily spelling "eugenics".

It was lovely to see George's strong sense of fair play coming to the fore earlier in the competition when he defended another contestant who was ejected for misspelling the word "aplomb".  George asked the judges to give him another shot, claiming the MC's pronunciation was off the mark.

''That would have definitely knocked me off my stride a bit,'' he said. ''I wanted to win but I wanted to win fairly, and I didn't see that as being particularly fair.''

George prepared for the finals by reading and testing himself on about 15 pages of the dictionary each day, which equated to about 300 to 400 words.

Organiser Janet Lucas said it was the toughest spelling bee she had seen in her ten years of organising the event.

''I can honestly say this one was truly at a different level. The words that they were spelling were amazing.'' she said.