National Spelling Bee gets its first African-American winner: What you need to know
A 14-year-old teenager, Zaila Avant-garde won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday, making her the first African-American to get that title. She is the second black winner in the competition’s history. The first black person was Jody-Anne Maxwell from Jamaica in 1998.
Zaila won the competition at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. She will get a $50,000 cash prize. The winning word for the competition was ‘murraya’ - a type of tree.
She already has a huge fan following on Instagram with her 14,000 followers and growing. On the social media site, she shares her journey to the Spelling bee and also her basketball skills. She also holds the Guinness World Records for most bounce juggles in one minute.
The competition had 209 spellers from 5 countries in the beginning, but only 11 made it to the finals on Thursday night. First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden was present to cheer for the competitors.