Zaila Avant-garde is Both a Prodigy and a Possibility

South Louisiana native, Zalia Avant-garde is the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She comes from an environment low on literacy and graduation rates.

The year was 1989 and I am in fourth grade competing in a citywide spelling bee in Baton Rouge. After whizzing through the preliminaries in my class at school to qualify for the big bee, I was pretty sure that I would breeze through the citywide …

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