Zaila Avant-garde, an African-American, from New Orleans in Louisiana, has won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 14-year-old Avant-garde, who is also an accomplished basketball player, is the first African-American contestant to win the prestigious competition in its 93 years history. The 8th-grader Avant-garde correctly spelt “Murraya”, a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees having pinnate leaves and flowers, to win a USD 50,000 prize.
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Zaila is also the first Black contestant to win since Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica in 1998. 12-year-old Indian-origin Chaitra Thummala, from San Francisco and 13-year-old Indian-origin Bhavana Madini, from New York, won second and third place respectively.
About the Award:
Scripps National Spelling Bee is an annual spelling bee held in the United States, for children of South Asian descent, to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.