Jr. Ashlanders: Nikolas Lindauer

Nikolas Lindauer loves learning. The fourth-grader at Helman Elementary is a big reader and enjoys encouraging others to read and find the joy in books that he has discovered.

His role as a kinder-buddy (an older student who engages with kindergarten students for weekly reading times and games) has been an ideal outlet for the 9-year-old student's interest in books. Lindauer's mother, Stefanie DeKesel, is struck by her son's curiosity and his helpfulness.

"Nikolas is awesome about things that he is interested in. He is very focused and enjoys learning new things," she said. "I'm often amazed by how kind and generous he can be with his younger sisters. He helps them clean their room and he helps them get ready for bed, and reads bedtime stories."

The Daily Tidings caught up with Nikolas at a local ice cream parlor to talk about books, circus arts and Brussels sprouts.

DT: What are your favorite subjects in school?

NL: I like reading and math. Sometimes I like writing, but sometimes I'm not in the mood. I'm pretty good at math, but I like it because when I finish my math work early I get free time. We can read during free time.

DT: What books are you reading right now?

NL: Our teacher is reading "Because of Winn-Dixie" to us. I love that book. During reading time we can read whatever we like. I found this series of books called "Clue" from the board game. I like the first one the best, "Who Killed Mr. Body?"

DT: Do you have an all-time favorite book?

NL: Yes, there's a book my grandmother sent me, called "Nicholas," by René Goscinny. It's about a boy who does all these funny things. And it has my name. I like humorous books. "Calvin and Hobbes" is great, too.

DT: What is it like being a kinder-buddy?

NL: At Helman, we buddy read, and we read with partners. We have kindergarten buddies that we read with and we do a bunch of things together. Right now, we're studying an author who talks about animals a lot. Then we're going to make our own stories. That is fun. I like being a buddy to the kindergarteners. If a kid wasn't interested in reading, I'd say that reading is fun because you can always find a book about something you like.

DT: What do you like to do outside of school?

NL: Le Cirque, with Lorenzo and Tatiana. It is so much fun. I can do really hard things now, like hang from my ankles. I go two times a week. I'm learning ball-walking and unicycling; I can unicycle 3 feet now. I also like to cook. The other day I made soup. I put in onions, potatoes, chicken, vegetables and broth. It was good. I can make my own scrambled eggs, too.

DT: What do you want to do when you grow up?

NL: I have no idea. Maybe be the President of the United States of America.

DT: You used to live in Hawaii. Do you miss anything about it?

NL: I miss surfing and snorkeling, but I like school better here. There's more stuff to do now.

DT: Talk about something you have done that makes you proud.

NL: In second grade, when we finished all of our work, our teacher, Ms. Lenz, would let us watch a movie and eat popcorn. I always got to watch a movie. She was pretty great. I'm proud I can do good work in school.

DT: Tell us about someone in your family who makes you proud.

NL: My mom is fun. She let's me do some things that my dad doesn't, though my dad lets me do stuff my mom doesn't, too. And my mom stands up for me when my dad tells me to eat Brussels sprouts. Even my mom doesn't eat Brussels sprouts, so she sticks up for everyone.