Wyoming Student Named International Spelling Bee Champ


(Release) While the Scripps National Spelling Bee wrapped up last week with a tie, a Cheyenne, Wyoming student walked away the first-place winner from an international virtual spelling bee.

Eighth grader Lazerous Gilbert attends Wyoming Virtual Academy (WYVA), a public online school serving students in grades K–12.

Lazerous is autistic, and his grandmother, Susan Lyday, who is his primary caregiver, enrolled him in WYVA after having bad experiences with traditional brick-and-mortar schools. The online school’s rigorous academic program has allowed him to learn in the ways that work for him.

Over the last few months, about two dozen online schools around the globe hosted multiple local and regional spelling bees for students in grades 4 through 8, all leading up to the K12 International Spelling Bee.

Unlike traditional spelling bees, the K12 International Bee and most regional spelling bees were conducted entirely online.

Lazerous’s studies have served him well: Though he came in second in his regional spelling bee, he went on to win first place in the international spelling bee by correctly spelling “pandemonium.”


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