Zaila Avant-garde Wins With Murraya!

July 16, 2021

Fans of the Scripps National Spelling Bee have been waiting for not one but two years to hear who’d be crowned the next champion of the largest spelling bee competition in the United States.


Last year, the Bee was canceled due to the growing COVID-19 pandemic—something that hasn’t happened since World War II! With 209 spellers waiting an excruciatingly long two years for their chance to take home the Spelling Bee cup, it was finally time for them to shine.

What Happened?

Scripps National Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde
Image Credit: Scripps National Spelling Bee

Starting on June 12th, spellers began battling through three virtual rounds before the final eleven met at the ESPN Wide World Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort to duke it out in person. The competition was fierce, but fourteen-year-old Zaila Avant-garde kept her cool, spelling word after word correctly all the way through to the final round where she spelled the word murraya to clinch the title of spelling bee champion. Confetti rained down on Avant-garde after judge Mary Brooks said three life-changing words, “That is correct.” Congratulations, Zaila!

Interesting Fact: Avant-garde is the ninety-third Scripps National Spelling Bee champion, but the first Black American ever to hold the title.