Stagecoach girl wins Nevada spelling bee |

Stagecoach girl wins Nevada spelling bee

F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Silver Stage Middle Schooler Cheyenne Lawrence, 12, describes her reaction to winning the Nevada State Spelling Bee championship last week in Las Vegas. Lawrence will advance to the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 29-30 in Washington, D.C.

STAGECOACH – The word on the street is that Cheyenne Lawrence can spell it.

The Silver Springs 12-year-old beat out 47 other spellers from across the state to take home the first-place trophy from a spelling bee hosted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal on March 8. Her win means that Cheyenne will represent Nevada in the Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 30 in Washington, D.C.

This was Cheyenne’s second year competing, and though last year the Japanese word for goodbye, sayonara, knocked her out in 13th-place, this year, she said bon voyage to all the other competitors.

“She’s proud as a peacock,” said Silver Stage Middle School Principal Rob Jacobsen, where Cheyenne attends the eighth grade.

Jacobsen is not just Cheyenne’s fan because of her trophy, it seems this unassuming young lady has been making a pretty big impact her whole life.

“She’s unbelievable,” said Jacobsen. “She does everything right. She treats everybody right. She is what’s right in the world.”

In first grade, Cheyenne’s teachers and mother noticed she was more advanced than the other students, and she skipped to second grade. She’s taking advanced algebra classes and has aspirations to be a marine biologist and meteorologist.

If Cheyenne wins the national competition, she’ll receive more than $42,000 in cash and prizes. For her family, that means a college education without the burden of loans.

“I don’t know what I did to deserve such a daughter,” said her mother, Brenda Lawrence.

Lawrence escorted Cheyenne to the competition in Las Vegas. She was in the audience when Cheyenne spelled the final two words that stood in the way of her crown.

“I was stunned by the way that she spelled off the last two words. When they said, ‘immunoassay,’ I had no idea what it was. I thought, ‘Oh well, we had fun,'” Lawrence recalled.

Cheyenne rattled off the correct spelling.

“The last word, “alluvium,” I could almost see it, and I knew she had it. I was crying.”

Cheyenne said she remembers being stunned herself.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, I won!” she kept thinking in her head.

The Las Vegas Review Journal will pay for Cheyenne and her mother to attend the nationals, but Principal Jacobsen hopes the community will help Cheyenne’s grandmother attend as well.

The school is trying to raise enough money to make that happen. And Jacobsen said, – if, just if, – Cheyenne doesn’t win the national competition, he hopes there’s enough money donated to start a college scholarship fund for her.

“She deserves it,” he said.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.

National Spelling Bee winners from the last seven years and their winning words:

2000: demarche

George Abraham Thampy

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

St. Louis, Missouri

2001: succedaneum

Sean Conley

Aitkin Independent Age

Aitkin, Minnesota

2002: prospicience

Pratyush Buddiga

Rocky Mountain News

Denver, Colorado

2003: pococurante

Sai R. Gunturi

The Dallas Morning News

Dallas, Texas

2004: autochthonous

David Scott Pilarski Tidmarsh

South Bend Tribune

South Bend, Indiana

2005: appoggiatura

Anurag Kashyap

San Diego Union-Tribune

San Diego, California

2006: Ursprache

Kerry Close

Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune

Asbury Park, New Jersey

2007: serrefine

Evan M. O’Dorney

Contra Costa Times

Walnut Creek, California


See if you can pick which is the correction spelling. The answers are on the back page. The following words have appeared in the spelling bee:


a – frankincense

b – frankensense

c – frankinscence


a – exicration

b – execration

c – exacrasion


a – provolone

b – provalone

c – provealone


a – struessel

b – struesel

c – streusel


a – plausible

b – plausable

c – plasible


a – furlow

b – ferlough

c – furlough


a – Zanadu

b – Xanadu

c – Xanado

Spelling answers:

1. A

2. B

3. A

4. C

5. A

6. C

7. B


Donations can be made to Silver Stage Middle School so that Cheyenne Lawrence’s grandmother can escort her to the Scripps National Spelling Bee competition in Washington, D.C. in May. Principal Robert Jacobsen said any money over the cost of travel for the grandmother will go into a fund for Cheyenne’s education.

Donations can be sent to:

Silver Stage Middle School

Cheyenne Lawrence Fund

3800 Spruce Ave.

Silver Springs, NV 89429