Spelling it out with Zaila, Jody-Anne, and Akeelah
We have taken a beautiful flying leap from prestidigitation to murraya.
“If you want to get there you can’t be a shrinking violet.”
Dr. Joshua Larabee, I can happily tell you that Zaila Avant-Garde is no shrinking Violet.
Zaila’ story is inspiring. When I heard it, I immediately thought about Akeelah and the Bee, the movie that introduced me to Keke Palmer.
While reading about Zaila, I learnt that while she is the first African-American winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in its 96 year history, there was a Black winner in 1998, Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica.
Zaila has other talents too. She told CNN she is good at whatever she does and she holds 3 Guinness World Records for basketball dribbling.
How much of a natural talent is she? Well, while other spelling bee champs, start young, as early as five, fourteen-year old Zaila, has only been training for two years.
Congratulations to our record holder Zaila Avant-garde who won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee last night!
Zaila holds three basketball dribbling records and is looking to set more – she also features in the upcoming #GWR2022! pic.twitter.com/3peSggJ6T9
— Guinness World Records (@GWR) July 9, 2021
Last week, it was Sha’Carri Richardson in the news. Another inspiring story, which had an unfortunate twist. I agree with Etan Thomas. We need to re-evaluate the rules.