Clovis North teacher Melissa Ferdinandsen with her signed Ellen portrait. (Contributed photo)
Johnny Martin | Reporter
Clovis North High School English teacher Melissa Ferdinandsen got the surprise of a lifetime when she got called on stage during “The Ellen Show.”
When Ferdinandsen was invited to go down to Burbank by the show’s staff, she thought she was going to be interviewed to be part of a “teacher special” show that would be shot in May. Little did she know, it was all a set-up by “The Ellen Show” to get her on that day’s show.
“It was all staged, they really faked me out they’re very good,” Ferdinandsen said. “During one of the commercials I looked at Ellen and said, ‘Your crew, they are a bunch of liars’ and she goes, ‘Oh yeah, they’re really good at lying.’”
Ferdinandsen is Ellen’s “No. 1 fan” and writes to her on occasion hoping to one day actually get to see a show live. She even mentioned in one of the letters how she uses a picture of Ellen and what she stands for to help motivate her kids to have compassion and to be kind to one another. Never did she think Ellen would actually read one of her letters, especially out loud to her live crowd and be able to talk to her on stage during a live show.
“She started reading my letter and I lost it, I like lost it, I almost threw up,” Ferdinandsen said. “I couldn’t believe it, I just started bawling and then she called me down there. I’ve dreamt about that day.”
She is such a super fan that her colleagues got her the picture she has up in her room and actually had one of the teachers sign it pretending to actually be Ellen. When Ellen heard about this, she gave her super fan a real signed picture to put in her classroom that read, “Melissa – this really is me.”
Ellen jokingly told her now she can put that picture up in her room and stop lying to her kids saying the other picture was signed by Ellen.
Ferdinandsen was called up stage and the two talked about how she teaches compassion and caring for one another in her classes at Clovis North and Ellen said she supported her 100 percent, stating that we should have a mandatory class that is kindness and compassion.
Ellen highlighted the fact that Ferdinandsen has “DJ Ferd Fridays” where she plays music at the beginning of each class and dances with her kids. Ellen even showed a video of her dancing with one of her classes when she was sporting an Ellen sweater and hat in the video.
“It comes from when I was a kid, my mom used to always have Soul Train and American Bandstand on and we’d dance while we cleaned,” Ferdinandsen said. “Everything is more fun with music. Every Friday I turn it on and dance, I just want the kids to know that it’s OK to just cut loose and have fun.”
After the two discussed that, Ellen had her play a game for her to “actually win” the picture. Ellen heard that she was a big San Jose Sharks fan so she had her play a game where she had to shot a puck into a small hole. Ferdinandsen stepped right up and nailed it on the first shot.
“I’ve never even held a hockey stick,” Ferdinandsen said. “But I’ve watched the games enough, and I’m a coach so I observe form. So I just thought I’m gonna go for it and I ripped the snot out of that thing.”
The Sharks heard about Melissa’s story and heard what Ellen was doing for her so they sent in a customized jersey with the number one on it and her name sketched across the back of it for Ellen to give to her after the show.
Once Ferdinandsen made the shot, Ellen said she had won the picture but then dropped a big surprise on her in the form of a 2017 Chevy Equinox. Ellen found out that she was driving a car that had more than 180,000 miles on it and said that she needed to be safe in order to get to school and teach those kids.
“I still can’t believe I talked to her, I sat next to her, she called my name,” Ferdinandsen said. “I had no idea that car was coming, that whole day was a dream come true, and that’s really just what I want my kids to know is that you can make dreams come true if you just try.”
You can watch the video of Ferdinandsen on the Ellen show!