Scripps National Spelling Bee Has First African American Winner Ever In 8th Grader Zaila Avant-Garde07/09/2021
Fourteen-year-old Zaila Avant-garde took the top prize at the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday by correctly spelling the word “murraya.” For those who aren’t botanists — or brilliant 8th graders — a murraya is “a genus of flowering plants in the citrus family, Rutaceae,” according to Wikipedia.
With her win, New Orleans resident Avant-garde becomes the first African American winner of the nearly 100-year-old event. The event was inaugurated in 1925. The win marks a comeback for the Spelling Bee, which was broadcast on ESPN2 Thursday evening. It was canceled last year for the first time since WWII because of the pandemic.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee had 209 spellers from across the U.S. and around the globe this year. Beginning June 12, spellers competed virtually in the first three rounds of competition: the Preliminaries, Quarterfinals and Semifinals. The top 10-12 spellers gathered for the in-person Finals today at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.
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