Zaila Avant-garde halts Indian-American record run at Scripps National Spelling Bee

Basketball prodigy, the eighth grader Zaila Avant-garde became the first African-American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Having participated once before, she fell short and had tied at the 370th position.

On Thursday, July 8, she spelt the word ‘Murraya’ correctly and jumped at winning the trophy.

Indian-Americans, who have been dominating the National Spelling Bee for years, had to be satisfied with the 2nd and 3rd positions. Chaitra Thummala, a 12-year-old from San Francisco and Bhavana Madini, 13, from New York won the second and third place at the keenly-fought competition, which was attended by US First Lady Jill Biden.

The only other time, the Bee had a Black winner was in 1998 with Jamaica’s Jody-Anne Maxwell emerging as the victor. Zaila Avant-garde also broke the winning streak of South Asians, Indian Americans especially since 2008.


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