2022 SPIRIT OF NEVADA SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Elementary School: One winning class recieved a pizza party and $500 worth of classroom supplies. A $500 Amazon Gift Card was awarded to the teacher of the class.
Middle School: A total of four winners were chosen from the students that create the best entry based on the year’s theme. Each winner received an iPad Mini and the teacher of the student received a $500 Amazon Gift Card.
High School: A total of four winners were chosen from the students that create the best entry based on the year’s theme. Each winner received $1,000 and an iPad Mini. The teacher of the student received a $500 Amazon Gift Card.
High School Winners
Silver Home I’ve Known
“You don’t miss what you have
Until the moment that it’s gone.”
Four years ago, these words were empty.
Today, my thoughts run on.
The Silver State is a world apart,
A wonder all its own.
When I leave for college in three months,
I’ll yearn for the home I’ve known.
Stretching across the ethereal desert sky,
Mountains rise from cracks in the ground.
This crimson beauty bathed in light—
Unparalleled for miles around.
Like a paradise cut off from reality,
Waters decorate our horizon, too.
From Lake Tahoe’s depths to Fly Geyser’s steam,
The earth abounds with royal blue.
There’s teeming life nestled in Nevada
That’s rare outside its lines.
The cities strike a balance with nature,
Leaving space for creatures of all kinds.
Darting, fleeting roadrunners zip from
Pine to native sagebrush.
Marshland terrains disguise a bobcat’s prowl,
Disturbed by the broken hush.
Listen closely for the chirping bluebird
That serenades each passerby.
Or turn your eyes to the millions of Nevadans,
Whose traditions and culture thrive.
Here, larger-than-life names are history,
Legends like Agassi, Strauss, and Twain.
These are the streets that trailblazers walked—
The lands that miners sought to gain.
The gleaming spirit of resilience, though old,
Continues to be passed along.
Whether violence or pandemic is at our door,
This community remains #VegasStrong.
The places, the people, and the pride
Make Nevada a world apart.
Even if distance takes me away,
These memories keep home at heart.
I’ll find no comparison elsewhere:
No chance, no if, no when.
Called by the song of this glorious state,
I’m sure to be back again.
Middle School Winners
“Living room, sweetheart.” Her mother says. When Juliet walks in, her mother is sitting
on the floor, organizing paperwork.
Juliet sits down on the couch, having left her backpack in the front hall. “You know that
story you would tell me when I was younger, about my 6th generation back grandfather?”
“Yes,” Her mom replies, still sifting through paperwork. “What about it?”
“We’re doing a project in history about people in our family and I thought I could do
mine about him.”
Her mother finally looks up, and studies her daughter. “That’s amazing sweetheart. What
do you have to do?”
“Either write an essay or make a presentation.” Juliet explains. “It’s due in about two
weeks. You don’t happen to have a written version do you? It would make it easier to write.” A
small, sly smile spreads across her lips. It’s widened ever more when her mother looks at her
with an annoyed expression. “I’m just asking.” She says, putting her hands up in front of her.
Her mother sighs, smiles lightly, and shakes her head. “As it happens I do, but I think you
should let me tell it to you as well.”
“No buts. You’ll get the raw version from me. I’ll let you see the paper copy after.”
“Okay” Juliet stands up. “Thank you.” She grabs her bag and heads up to her room.
“Ready?” Juliet’s mother asks. Her father is also there.
“Ready.” Juliet responds, pressing Record on her recorder.
“It starts in the year 1850, when James Collins, your great-grandfather 6 generations
back, was born.”
“How precious, Rose.” Elizabeth Smith says. “He looks strong. He’s going to do
Rose smiles. “Thank you.” Her smile softens. “I just wish his father were here.”
Elizabeth hugs her. “I know Rose. I know. You’re going to be a great mother.”
Whether genetics or remarkable parenting on Rose’s part, James did grow up strong and
healthy. He started to work in the mines at 7 and was serious about his work. He didn’t mind
being trapped in the mines all day. He didn’t mind all the swearing and trauma and candle-light
corridors. In fact, he loved it. He thrived in his work.
By the time he was 16, he was well accomplished, not to mention a total heartbreaker.
Any time a girl, or guy for that matter, saw him, they swooned on sight. A couple people even
passed out. He was well read and achieved a lot in his time.
He was a very humble man, that he was. Didn’t like the praise all that much. Didn’t fancy
himself sick everytime he looked in the mirror. If anything, he praised his best friend, William
Smith, more, even as less accomplished and not nearly as handsome as he was. They were
inseparable. They met on the first day and, being the same age and of similar wealth, were paired
in the same group. They stayed in the same group the entire time they were there.
He did have a child. A boy named Henry. The marriage was a unique one. While they
weren’t completely in love in the typical sense, they did have a connection. A family friend,
Louisa was a smart, pretty girl. Some would argue that she was too dull and not handsome
enough for a man like James, though James wasn’t really one for settling down so those talks
never bothered him. James was never one to try many risks when it came to women. Too caught
up in his work to really care.
Lousia was happy to be a mother, having been raised that way, what with her younger
siblings. She enjoyed the idea of having someone to care for, whether it be a husband, child, or
siblings. She was very happy and took very good care of both James and their child.
Everything was going well. James had just turned 18, having celebrated with Louisa,
Henry, and William. He and William had been promoted up to a higher, even more dangerous,
rank. He was happy.
“Are you sure you can do this, James?” William asks, a smirk on his face. James had just
been asked to train the new 7 year olds coming into the mines.
“Are you sure you want to?” Replies James, laughing as he lights his cigarette. The sun is
shining brightly on the two men. “You hate kids.”
“If I can tolerate a 4 year old running around my legs 24/7, I can tolerate these kids.”
The two men laugh. James checks his pocket watch, stubs out his cigarette, pulls out
another match and lights a candle.
“Alright. Let’s go scare the devil out of these little children.”
That first day went by surprisingly fast. Most of the boys were quick learners and
understood exactly what to do. The donkeys were the most surprising thing that those boys
witnessed on that day.
The next month or so went by in a blur. Candles burning all the time. The heat burned the
men and boys inside and out. Still as efficient as ever. So much gold was produced in that month.
Then the threats started to come.
Threats of bombs and fires and using these little seven year old boys as target practice.
Almost everyone took these threats lightly, except James, and in turn William.
“I can’t believe no one is taking this seriously!” James exclaims one night when he and
William were in a pub. He puts his hand up, requesting another whiskey.
“I hear you.” Will replied, finishing his up just as the bartender came to refill their
whiskeys. “They have no right to threaten those kids. They have done nothing wrong. Hell, none
of us have done anything to them, those selfish, greedy, mother-!”
“Hey. Calm down my good sir.” James laughed, touching his friend on the shoulder. “If
any of them even step on foot near one of those kids, my pistol will be finishing them off. I only
need one bullet.”
“That you do my friend. That you do.” They fill the rest of the night with idle
conversation and whiskey, waiving off anyone who tries to intervene and talk to them.
Two months later and at least 5 of the men from Eldorado Canyon Mine are dead. All at
the hand of Mister James Collins. He was truly a man of his word. He would do anything to
protect those kids.
One night, James was helping one kid that decided to stay after. He was one of the boys
that didn’t catch on that quickly. William was chiming in randomly, saying both helping and
“Make sure you hit with enough force.”
“If you do a little dance, the gold just comes right to you.”
It helped to relax the poor kid and he did get better.
“Okay bud, it’s getting late. You should go home and get some sleep. See you bright and
early tomorrow. Yeah?” James asked, sending the kid off on his way. They said their goodbyes,
and as James and William were starting to pack up their equipment, a ticking noise started to
Tick… Tick… Tick …
“What’d you bet that is?” William questions, perking his head up. James just shrugs.
CLASH. CLASH. CLASH. TUMBLE. TUMBLE. TUMBLE.
“And James and William were never heard from again.”
“Wait. That’s it? We don’t know what happened to them.” Juliet asks, dumbfounded.
“Yup,” her mother responds. “No one knows what happened to them. Some of the rumors
include them running off to San Francisco with their new fortune. Others include there being a
shootout inside the mines between them and an opposing group or that same group blew up some
of the rocks inside and they suffocated. The rumors are endless.”
“ Nothing, however, is for sure.” Juliets dad continues “All that anybody ever found out
was that the kid they were helping escaped and they were never seen again after that night.”
“Interesting,” Juliet mumbled to herself. “Thank you so much,” She says, louder this
time. “This is perfect.”
She turns off the recording, and goes up to her room to write.
5 years later.
“And that is the story of my grandfather, six generations back, and how he and his best
friend disappeared off the face of the Earth, but made a big impact in the lives of many. That
child they tutored, Joseph Miller, went on to become another silent influence. The mines ran long
and they helped Nevada become the prosperous state it is today.” Juliet puts the microphone back
on the stand. “Thank you so much for listening and I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.” She
bows and leaves the stage, waving to the crowd.
“Umm… Excuse me miss?” A voice says to her when she mixes into the crowd.
She turns around. “Yes?” Juliet asks. The person has to be around her age, maybe a little
older. Probably in their early or mid twenties. “How can I help you?”
“I just wanted to thank you for talking about this story, and mentioning some of the others. I do
know that I have some family from then, I just can’t remember who or how I’m related.” They
give a crooked smile and hug Juliet.
Juliet returns the hug.
This is why I’m doing this. She thinks. To bring light to those who have never had it
“Can I ask your name?” She asks when the hug dissolves.
“Rose. Rose Collins.”
A slight gasp escaped from Juliet. She recovers quickly, though.
“Would you like to get some coffee, Rose” Juliet asks, stuttering slight on the name.
“Sure.” Rose responds.
And off they went. Rose Collins and Juliet Smith.
To go and grab a coffee.
Elementary School Winner