even among the more well-rounded spellers who will compete Thursday in the ESPN-televised national finals, Zaila Avant-garde stands out.
The 14-year-old from Harvey, Louisiana, has earned more recognition for her athletic prowess than her achievements in spelling. She is a basketball prodigy who has appeared in a commercial with Stephen Curry
Zaila said she hopes to inspire other African-Americans who might not understand the appeal of spelling or can't afford to pursue it.
“Maybe they don't have the money to pay $600 for a spelling program, they don't have access to that,” Zaila said. “With tutors and stuff, they charge, like, murder rates.”
They have spelling bee VAR and this kid just got eliminated because of it pic.twitter.com/ahCzhi2Fjh— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) July 9, 2021