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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

First African American to Win National Spelling Bee Overwhelmed With Scholarship Offers

Zaila Avant-Garde

Nationwide — Zaila Avant-Garde, a 14-year old from Harvey, Louisiana, has made history as the first African American winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Since then, universities from all across the country have been offering her full-ride scholarships.

Zaila won the historic championship after correctly spelling the word “Murraya,” a type of tree, in the final round. She bested 208 contestants from 5 countries. Soon thereafter, Zaila began receiving full-ride scholarships one after another.

Southern University President Ray L. Belton took to Twitter, “I am pleased to announce that @Southernu_BR is offering #ZailaAvantgarde a full scholarship and “#Zaila Day” at SU, part of the nation’s only #HBCU system. Our student leaders, faculty, and alumni look forward to meeting with you. We welcome you to the #JaguarNation!”

Louisiana State University President William Tate also wrote on Twitter, “Zaila Avant-garde @basketballasart performed at the highest level in the National Spelling Bee. Your academic performance reflected scholarship first! You modeled intellectual excellence. @LSU_Honors awaits. I write to offer you a full scholarship to attend LSU. Here for you!”

Louisiana Community and Technical College System posted on its Facebook page, “In celebration of her incredible performance at the National Spelling Bee, LCTCS is proud to offer Zaila Avant-garde a full scholarship to any Louisiana community and technical college. We believe our programs, such as aerospace technology, would be a great fit for you,”

Meanwhile, Zaila, who also holds 3 Guinness World Records for her basketball skills, expressed her interest to attend Harvard University to play college basketball. She plans to pursue a career in Neuroscience or Gene Editing. She says wants to either work for NASA one day or play for the  NBA.