Written by Kevin Dotson CNN
Louisiana teen Zaila Avant-garde correctly spells ‘M-U-R-R-A-Y-A’ to win Scripps National Spelling Bee and became the first African American to win National spelling Bee.
Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old from New Orleans, Louisiana, just won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee after correctly spelling murraya — a type of tree — to clinch the championship. To get there, the teen had to navigate her way through words like “querimonious,” “solidungulate,” and “Nepeta,” a word the teen had to reset on, and let out a joyous jump after her correct spelling.
Avant-garde has become the first African-American contestant to win the bee in 93 editions of the competition — and will receive a $50,000 cash prize.
The competition began with 209 spellers, ranging from 9 to 15 years old, from five countries: the US, the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana and Japan.
Eleven contestants entered Thursday night’s final, with Avant-garde emerging as the nation’s top speller.
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden was on hand to cheer on the competitors at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.