NewsCovering Louisiana


Sen. Cassidy congratulates Scripps spelling bee champ on Senate floor

Posted at 4:45 PM, Jul 13, 2021

U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy delivered a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday in which he congratulated Scripps National Spelling Bee champion and Harvey native Zaila Avant-garde.

The 14-year-old took home the prize last Thursday after successfully spelling the word 'murraya,' which is a genus of tropical tree. She is the first champion from Louisiana and the first African American champion.

"Let me give a heartfelt congratulations to Zaila Avant-garde; this incredible 14-year-old young lady just won the national spelling bee," Cassidy said. "She dominated, getting words that I don't think any of the rest of us would be able to spell."

During the speech, Sen. Cassidy also offered Zaila a D.C. Senate internship.

"If you wish to do that internship, we are here to encourage you as you embark on the rest of your life, a life that will be incredibly successful," he said.

Earlier this week, Cassidy and Sen. John Kennedy introduced a resolution commemorating Zaila's win.

The senator highlighted another incredible skill of Avant-garde's: basketball. She currently holds three Guinness World Records for most basketball bounces in 30 seconds (four basketballs); most basketballs dribbled simultaneously by one person (six basketballs); and most bounce juggles in one minute (four basketballs).

Cassidy's full speech can be viewed below:

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