Zaila Avant-Garde: First African American to Win Scripps National Spelling Bee Competition

Zaila Avant-Garde Win Scripps National Spelling Bee, July 8, 2021

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Zaila Avant-Garde, 14 years old,  won the Scripps National Spelling Bee Championship on Thursday, July 8, 2021. She was the first African American and the second Black to win the championship in the Scripps National Spelling Bee's 96-year history. The only previous Black winner was Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica.

Zaila Avant-garde is an eighth-grader from Harvey, LA. She spelled the winning word, "murraya," a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees that grow pinnate leaves and flowers with imbricated petals. With the win she is getting an award of $50,000.

After the win, Zaila Avant-Garde said: "It made me feel really proud. I'm really hoping lots of little brown girls all over the world and stuff are really motivated to try out spelling and stuff because it's really a fun thing to do and it's a great way to kind of connect yourself with education, which is super important."



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Zaila Avant-Garde has many outstanding skills. Some of these skills are as a basketball player. In basketball, she holds three Guinness world records for dribbling multiple basketballs. The three Guinness world record dribble consist of the most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs, the most basketball bounces in 30 seconds with four basketballs, and the record of six basketballs dribbled at once by one person.

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