When you ask the average 12-year-old, “What’s the hardest word you’ve ever had to spell?”, most probably couldn’t give you an answer. Then again, Lia Eggleston isn’t your typical 12-year-old. The poised 8th grader, who attends Snowy Range Academy Charter School, was the winner of the 2012 Wyoming State Spelling Bee. Lia’s path to becoming a spelling bee champion was inspired at home: Her brother participated in a state spelling bee, so she decided to give it a try. She admitted that her first year of competition included a few lucky guesses, such as Japanese-rooted word “koan,” and Lia ended up placing second in the 2010 Wyoming State Spelling Bee. From there, she became more dedicated in pursuit of the state title. She began studying and memorizing “Spell It!,” a list of a approximately 1,150 words created in cooperation with Merriam-Webster as a study aid for the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Her passionate desire to succeed, paired with help from teachers and mentors along the way, gave Lia something to brag about for years to come—her state’s highest honors for spelling.