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May 30th, 2009
10:39 AM ET

CNN Staff Spelling Bee Memories

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is taking some of us here at CNN back to when we competed in local spelling bees. Why is it that everyone just can’t forget that one word they missed? You probably don’t remember anything else about that year, just that nagging word. Anchor Betty Nguyen was in the third grade when she misspelled HELICOPTER because she was so nervous. Of course they rang the bell immediately when she started with the letter “I”. Chalk it up to nerves. You know, those moments when the pressure is so intense that your brain starts to freeze. She came in third place. Meteorologist Reynolds Wolf was in the fifth grade in Alabama when he misspelled the word PIERCE. The whole “I” before “E” rule can be confusing.

Our Executive Producer, Tenisha Abernathy won her sixth grade spelling bee in her class. The day that she was supposed to go compete against the other sixth graders in other classes to advance to the next round…SHE GOT SICK! Yes, sick as a dog, and she couldn’t go to school. She was so mad, she was moved to tears!

I was in the third grade at Smith Elementary School in Corpus Christi, Texas when I beat everyone in my school, including the fourth graders. I went on to the district finals, and then struck out on my first try with the word WINTER. What?? I know, it seems like an astonishingly easy word, but keep in mind I had never been in front of a group of people before. I was so nervous, I just wanted off the stage! I spelled it with two E’s. Doh! Share your spelling bee memories with us!