Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was on hand at JHS 74 in Oakland Gardens, Queens on Monday to congratulate seventh grader Arvind Mahankali, who came close to winning the National Spelling Bee.
Arvind placed third in the competition.
"I just wanted to pay tribute to a young man who has done an outstanding job in accomplishing something that very few people did," said Walcott.
"I browse through the dictionary randomly whenever I get some time in my schedule, a coupe of hours to study, my parents quiz me," said Arvind.
The champion speller said he plans to study more German words while preparing for next year's competition, as he got stuck on the German-derived word schwannoma, which is a type of tumor.