John Raoux / AP
Fourteen-year-old Zaila Avant Guard has won the Scripps National Spelling Bee – and $ 50,000.
She crushed the competition with the winning word, “murraya,” a genus of tropical Asian and Australian trees, and celebrated with a spin on stage during confetti. But not before she made the judges crack smiles by sneaking into a Bill Murray joke. (We do not explain the joke to you – see master perform it yourself)
The 8th grader from Harvey, La., Is the first African-American winner in Bee’s 96-year history and the competition’s second black champion.
The triumph marks the return to the annual competition, which did not happen last year due to the pandemic. Avantgarde competed in Bien in 2019, but did not reach the final.
National Spelling Master is not the only title for her name. The avant-garde holds three Guinness World Records for its basketball talents: the most bouncing juggles in 1 minute with four basketballs, the most basketball jumps in 30 seconds with four basketballs and holds the record for most basketballs dribbled at once – 6 – one person.
Avantgarde was among 11 finalists who came out of a group of 209 participants aged 9-15 years. The competition began almost in June with preliminary, followed by quarterfinals and semifinals. The final round Thursday night was held in person at the Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
First lady Jill Biden, a teacher herself, was there to witness the drama.
The competition this year was fierce with new rules to raise the limit. Each level had an extra “word meaning” round to test vocabulary. The threat of a “spell-off” threatened the finalists. Previous years ended with ribbons – a record eight spelling contracts won in 2019 – but this year a new rule said that spelling cards that remain at the end of the allotted time have 90 seconds to spell as many words as possible from a predetermined spelling. list of words.
But there was no need for a tie-breaker to the regret of some delighted spectators: Avant-garde easily surrendered the competition.
Regardless of their final status, these kids do not disappoint with their smarts, gravel and of course facial expressions. Here is a look at the highlights: