(CNN) - Arvind Mahankali, a 13-year-old eighth-grader from Bayside Hills, New York, won the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, correctly spelling the word "knaidel.""It means that I am retiring on a good note," said Mahankali, who attends Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 and was in his last year of eligibility. "I shall spend the summer, maybe the entire day, studying physics."
Mahankali, who wants to become a physicist, had finished third in the two previous national bees, being eliminated after misspelling words with German roots.
"I thought that the German curse had turned into a German blessing," he said, when asked what he thought when he heard the final word, a German-derived Yiddish word for a type of dumpling.