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Congrats to #ZailaAvantGarde on Winning the #Scripps National #SpellingBee!!

Zaila Avant-garde shows off her pretty new hardware after winning the Scripps National Spelling Bee on July 8th, 2021. Photo courtesy of Scripps National Spelling Bee Instagram account.

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word “Murraya” is defined as a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees (family Rutaceae) having pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals. However, to a young 14-year-old girl from New Orleans, Louisiana by the name of Zaila Avant-garde, the word “Murraya” means a whole lot more than that!

On July 8th, 2021 Zaila Avant-garde made history by becoming the first African-American (Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica was the first Black contestant to win the title in 1998) to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the competition’s 96 year history. The event which was televised live on ESPN on Thursday evening drew a VIP crowd including First Lady of the United States, Dr. Jill Biden who was there to witness Avant-garde become a national champion! In addition to her spelling talents, Avant-garde also enjoys playing basketball and holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling the most basketballs at one time. She’s amazing! With everything going on in the world right now, it’s little victories like these that are so special.

Congrats to Zaila Avant-garde and all the contestants of this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee. Watch the video of Avante-garde becoming a national champion by spelling the word “Murraya” below. It was the twirl at the end for us! -xoxo #BrooklynGirlCode <3

Zaila Avant-garde is the winner!!
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#TheAudacityOfHope: Obama’s Best White House Photos

President Obama on the White House lawn watching Olympian Fencer Tim Morehouse and U.S. National Team Fencer Daria Schneider fence. Photo courtesy of AP

The votes are all in and it’s official! Our beloved President Barack Obama is on his way out of the White House and Donald Trump is on his way in! *Takes 5 minute break to digest what I just typed.* Still, with that being said, nothing can take away from the two great terms that President Barack Obama gave us as the 44th President of the United States of America. He was a President of many firsts. Including the first to visit the island of Cuba since President Calvin Coolidge in 1928. President Obama also became the first president to visit a federal prison in 2015, the first time for any sitting president in the history of the United States. So, in honor of Obama exiting, I’ve compiled a list of some of his best photos taken by Chief Official White House photographer Pete Souza over the last eight years via his awesome and eloquent Instagram account. So, no tears today, please! Because life will most definitely go on! Just sit back and check out the awesome photos below and remember all the good times that we had while Obama was here!

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Only right that President Obama and former President Abraham Lincoln meet face-to-face.

President Obama on the White House lawn watching Olympian Fencer Tim Morehouse and U.S. National Team Fencer Daria Schneider fence. Photo courtesy of AP
President Obama on The White House lawn watching Olympian Fencer Tim Morehouse and U.S. National Team Fencer Daria Schneider fence. Photo courtesy of Associated Press.

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President Obama became the first sitting president in the history of the United States to visit inmates at a federal prison in 2015. Photo via okwassap.com.

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Because we all need a beer break sometimes, right?

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And a coconut water break, too!

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2016 Olympic Fencer and my friend, Ibtihaj Muhammad with President Barack Obama at the White House.

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Syrian Refugee Olympian, Yusra Mardini poses with Barack Obama photo via NBC Sports.

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