Jill Biden Surprises Spelling Bee Winners With Life-Size Versions of Their Winning Words — At the White House

First Lady Jill Biden welcomes the 2021 and 2022 Spelling Bee Champions Wednesday, September 14, 2022 to the White House where the winning words will be displayed on the South Lawn.
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Official White House Photo by Erin Scott First Lady Jill Biden welcomes the 2021 and 2022 Spelling Bee Champions Wednesday, September 14, 2022 to the White House where the winning words will be displayed on the South Lawn
First Lady Jill Biden gave the 2022 and 2021 Scripps Spelling Bee winners the surprise of a lifetime last week when she unveiled life-size clippings of her winning words on the South Lawn in front of the White House.
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Harini Logan and Zaila Avant-Garde, the 2022 and 2021 Scripps Spelling Bee Champions, received a tour of the White House last week. During her visit, Dr. Biden - a longtime fan of the spelling bee and English teacher for more than 30 years - the two with life-size cutouts of their winning words: "murraya" and "moorhen".
The White House tells PEOPLE that Dr. Biden met the girls and their families at the Jackie Kennedy Garden, out of sight of the South Lawn, before leading them to the life-size letters outside the White House. "Both families joked that this would easily become their Christmas card photo this year," the source told PEOPLE.
RELATED: 2021 National Spelling Bee Champ Zaila Vanguard makes history as first Black American winner
Avant-Garde, who hails from Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, won the Spelling Bee in 2021 at the age of 14 - making history as the first black American to hold the title of National Spelling Bee Champion.
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After her win, she chatted with PEOPLE and said, "I want to inspire everyone, especially African American girls."
Logan, who hails from San Antonio, Texas, won the spelling bee in 2022 at the age of 14, taking home the title after the first-ever blitz lap tiebreaker, where she correctly spelled 21 words during a 90-second lockout .
dr Biden, a longtime supporter of the contest, paid a visit to contestants at the Scripps National Spelling Bee last year and told the young spellers that she understood firsthand the nervousness they were likely experiencing.
"In sixth grade, I was my school's spelling bee champion," shared Dr. Biden in his opening speech before the competition. "I had a chance to go to the next level, but on the day of the regional competition, I told my mother that I was ill. The truth was I was too nervous to go, so I have incredible admiration for each and every one of you."
RELATED: Jill Biden surprises national teacher of the year on TV (with flowers!)
dr Biden, a longtime educator and instructor at Northern Virginia Community College, is the first first lady to retain a full-time job alongside her White House duty.
As First Lady, she has championed education, visiting schools across the country and speaking out about her dueling roles.
In a recent conversation with Today, the First Lady spoke about the importance of inspiring future educators.
"What we need to do now is encourage younger people to enter the workforce," said Dr. Biden, “and also color teachers. We need a lot more color teachers.”
Jill Biden
First Lady of the United States

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