Although some states are sending 15 contestants or more, 12-year-old Lia Eggleston of Laramie will be the only student to represent Wyoming in the Scripps National Spelling Bee this week.
Most states host many qualifying regional bees, but Wyoming almost lost the only one it has, when AARP could no longer host it two years ago.
Samin Dadelahi of the Wyoming Community Foundation says her group decided to sponsor the state spelling bee last year to avoid Wyoming losing representation altogether.
“It’s an educational event that kids can get excited about. And we don’t have that many of those. You know the National Spelling Bee competition is on ESPN. It gets a huge amount of coverage, and I think it really gets kids excited. And if you could see those kids up there, spelling their little hearts out, it is amazing to watch.”
Wyoming’s Lia Eggleston will take preliminary spelling tests in Maryland this week. The Snowy Range Academy eighth grader has been preparing for years, ever since she won second place in the Wyoming state spelling bee two years ago.
“Ever since that, I wanted to make it real... Like not just be guessing and, actually, um, get to be good and spelling and get to first place and be able to go to the nationals.”
Lia has been working with a coach to learn Latin and Greek word-roots, but her favorite word to spell is the name of the German spice cookie, Pfeffernusse.
The WCF will host next year’s Wyoming state spelling bee in Rock Springs.