In 1996 Jimmy McCarthy of St. Petersburg, Florida, became the first profoundly deaf speller to compete at the national level. He tied for 48th place in the field of 247 spellers.
Oh, those funny sentences. The bar is getting high.
"Your sentences just got weirder," Isabel Cholbi (Speller 18) told Dr. Bailly when she heard hers, for tinnient:
The tinnient sound of the store's door chime marked the arrival of Sandra, the strange lady who touched everything and never bought anything.
Jacob Williamson (Speller 38) wanted a funny sentence for "impasto."
"Not off the cuff," Dr. Bailly said.
"All right, I got this one," Jacob said, not wanting a sentence that wouldn't make him laugh.
And when the funny sentence came?
"Histoplasmosis is easier to spell than it is to explain to the school nurse," Dr. Bailly read.
"That's true," said Riju Datta (Speller 44).