NATIONAL HARBOR,Md. – Caleb Miller,13,of Calhoun,La.,didn’t make it to the finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee,but he did enough on stage Thursday to make the audience laugh during the semifinals.
In Round 5 he spelled “abattoir,” meaning a slaughterhouse,correctly,but found trouble when he was given the word “cyanope,” meaning a person with light hair and brown eyes,in Round 6. Caleb spelled “psianope” instead.
“Oh,you got to be kidding me,” Caleb said after hearing the correct spelling.
Eleven spellers advanced to the finals,which will start at 8 p.m. and be broadcast live on ESPN.
This was Caleb’s third participation in the national competition,and the first time he made it to the semifinals.
Spelling isn’t the only talent or interest for bee participants. They like math and science,play musical instruments and win science competitions. They cheerlead or play ping pong or cricket.
Others have special talents,such as reciting the alphabet backward,knowledge of HTML,fluency in American Sign Language or playing the xylophone.
Caleb has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and sings in a youth choir.
But Caleb has another talent. He can spell words,including “precious,” in the voice of Smeagol,the double-personality character from “The Lord of The Rings.”
Reach reporter Barbara Corbellini Duarte at [email protected] or 202-326-9866. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.