Eighth grader Zaila Avant-Garde has already accomplished more in her 14 years of life than most adults have in their first 50. Thursday night 14-year-old Zaila Avant-Garde became the first Black winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The Louisiana native spelled “Murraya” to capture the crown of the 93rd spelling bee.
13-year-old Zaila Avant-garde of Louisiana is your 93rd Scripps National #SpellingBee champion ‼️
The first African-American winner of the competition 👏 pic.twitter.com/y2Y5dAGcVN
— ESPN (@espn) July 9, 2021
Thursday night was a historic night at the spelling bee in many ways. The last 12 champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee have been of Indian descent. Avant-Garde is the first Black winner as well as the first winner from Louisiana.
“I was pretty relaxed on the subject of Murraya and pretty much any other word I got,” Zaila said in a post-match interview.
Zaila already broke records before spelling bee win
The crazy part is, Avant-Garde considers spelling a side hobby. The 14-year-old holds three Guinness World Records for dribbling multiple balls simultaneously.
- Most balls juggled in one minute with four basketballs
- Most dribbles in 30 seconds with four basketballs
- Most basketballs dribbled by one person simultaneously (6)
“I kind of thought I would never be into spelling again, but I’m also happy that I’m going to make a clean break from it,” Avant-Garde said. “I can go out, like my Guinness World Records, just leave it right there, and walk off.”
Avant-Garde is considered a basketball prodigy being one of the top eighth-grade prospects in the country. Her next goal is to make the 2022 USA Basketball under-16 national team, and by the looks of her track record, we fully expect her to be on that team.