Spelling Bee Gaffe Brings Laughs

By Amanda Carey

Feb 1, 2012 11:58am

A comical two-year-old video featuring an eighth-grader asking for a spelling bee word 16 times recently grabbed  the attention of late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who invited the reluctant speller on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Tuesday night.

While representing his eighth grade class from Santa Clara Elementary School in Oxnard, Ca., in the 2010 Ventura County Spelling Bee, Christopher Ferreria had difficulty understanding the moderator.

“I couldn’t hear the words,” Ferreira told Kimmel in a Skype interview on Tuesday, Jan. 31.  He assured Kimmel that he was not messing around with the moderator and  was being completely serious.

The moderator gave Ferreria the word “heron.”  After he was given the definition and listened to the word being used in a sentence, Ferreria came up with “hairline,” “herring,” “herang” but not “heron.”  The moderator repeated “heron” 16 times.  Ferreria then asked for a definition the second time  and did a dance of happiness.  He finally understood the word, which he went on to spell correctly. Ferreria posted the video on his YouTube account  Itsamecf9303 ‘ on June 2, 2011, with a message explaining he could not hear the word because the moderator was facing the audience and not the spellers.

Ferreria did not win the spelling bee, he tied for third.  He was eliminated on the word “debutante.”

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