In the 96 year history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, no African American has won the competition until last night. Her name is Zalia Avant-garde and she is a 14-year-old from New Orleans. The teen jumped up and down, confetti flying, after successfully spelling “murraya,” winning a $50,000 prize.
The Scripps spelling bee was forced to cancel last year due to Covid, so everyone was glad to see it up and running again – the competitors masked and seated spaced out nonetheless. First lady Jill Biden, herself an English professor, met with the competitors and families before the competition started.
This is an amazing achievement not just for the advancement of women and African Americans, but if you’ve spent any time on the internet, it’s a good feeling that some youth in this country are mastering spelling. Said Zalia after winning, “You don’t really see too many African Americans doing too well in spelling bees and that’s a bit sad, because it’s a really good thing … and kind of is a gate-opener to be interested in education.” Bravo, Zalia, who also holds 3 Guinness world records for basketball dribbling.