A LOUISIANA teenager became the first African-American female to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The yearly event is typically at a hotel or convention center in the Washington DC area; however, this year's event was held at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Who won the Spelling Bee 2021?
Zaila Avant-garde, 14, of Harvey, Louisiana, made history on July 8 by becoming the first African-American winner of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The 14-year-old spelling phenom won the contest after she spelled "murraya" correctly.
Avant-garde is the only African American girl to claim the championship title and will return to Louisiana with a $50,000 in cash prize and awards for her spelling prowess.
“I was pretty relaxed on the subject of Murraya and pretty much any other word I got,” Zaila said.
The 14-year-old spelling whiz was mindful of the moment.
“I’m hoping that within the next few years, I can see a little bit of an influx of African Americans, and not many Hispanic people, either, so I’m hoping to see them there, too,” she said.
Avant-garde described spelling as a side hobby, even though she routinely practiced for seven hours a day.
“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,” Zaila said.
“I can go out, like my Guinness world records, just leave it right there, and walk off.”
This year, nine of the 11 Spelling Bee finalists were of South Asian descent, and Zaila’s win for the US ends a winning streak of at least one South Asian champ each year since 2008.
Does Zaila Avant-garde play basketball?
Despite her historic victory, the 14-year-old is a basketball prodigy who owns three Guinness world records for dribbling multiple balls simultaneously.
In one, Avant-garde completed 255 “bounce juggles” with four basketballs in one minute.
The 14-year-olds other two Guinness world records include:
- Most dribbles in 30 seconds with four basketballs
- Most basketballs dribbled by one person simultaneously (6)
She hopes to attend Harvard and then shoot hoops in the WNBA or even become a female coach in the NBA.
If that doesn’t happen, the wiz aims to put her otherworldly brilliance to work at NASA.
Shortly after her spelling championship win, Avant-garde took to Instagram and has posted videos of her playing basketball.
According to ESPN, Avant-garde is one of the best 8th-grade female basketball players in the country.
In a profile with the outlet, she said her next big goal is to make the 2022 USA Basketball under-16 national team.
She listed James Harden, Diana Taurasi, Kevin Durant and Maya Moore as some of her favorite players.
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