Leonie Groot knows how to spell success — and a whole lot of other words too.
The 11-year-old Weston School pupil has just won the 2021 Kiwi Spelling Bee Competition for her year from about 90 schools across New Zealand.
She was ‘‘shocked and overwhelmed’’ with the win when she found out last Tuesday.
The competition was open to primary and secondary pupils year 5 and older, and was part of the Canterbury University Centre for Assessment and Monitoring Kiwi Competitions, which also included English, maths and science exams.
Leonie won her year 7 section and gained a distinction (equal to or greater than the 99.5th percentile) with her results. She also earned excellence (equal or greater than the 90th to the 99.5th percentile) in English, science and maths. She did like spelling, but enjoyed doing all the exams.
‘‘Science was quite cool. I hadn’t done that before,’’ she said. Leonie’s friends had not talked to her about the win much, but her prowess in spelling was no revelation.
‘‘Everybody is like ‘spell this for me’, but that’s nothing new, because they already were,’’ she said.
Leonie’s parents, Ruben Groot and Vicki Henderson, told her it was a big achievement ‘‘and they were proud of me’’.
Outside the classroom, she took part in the school TV production Watching Weston, the kapa haka group and choir, and also enjoyed swimming and Sea Scouts.
Weston School principal Deidre Senior said Leonie’s results were worth celebrating, and she would be presented with a special certificate and her prize of a $100 Whitcoulls voucher at school assembly today.
‘‘Leonie is a very diligent and involved student in many areas of our school,’’ Mrs Senior said.
‘‘It is just wonderful to be able to celebrate her capability with this impressive achievement.’’
As for future ambitions, Leonie was not certain what she would like to do, but she would definitely be aiming high.
‘‘It would be quite nice to be a judge, so I’ll have to be a lawyer, but other than that, I’m not that sure.’’