Most Read

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

A 14-year-old girl from Harvey, Louisiana has been crowned the winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee and it's a big deal.

Zaila Avant-garde made history on Thursday, July 8 after becoming the first African American winner and second Black champion of the nationally renowned spelling competition.

The first Black winner was Jody-Anne Maxwell, a 12-year-old from Jamaica who won the National Spelling Bee in 1998.

Avant-garde, who has only been in the competitive spelling game for about two years, clinched her victory by correctly spelling the word "Murraya." Avant-garde broke records by being the first African American winner in the entirety of the 96-year-old competition.

Watch the video here:


Avant-garde's Scripps win is only the latest title in her collection, however. As it turns out, she actually already holds three separate titles in the Guinness Book of World Records.

When not practicing her spelling or doing her homeschooled lessons, Avant-garde practices basketball. This is where she began making history.

Avant-garde currently holds world records for the most basketballs dribbled at once (six), the most basketball bounces (307 in 30 seconds), and the most bounce juggles in one minute (four).


But that's not all.

Avant-garde can also speed read at an incredibly fast pace and is a mathematics whiz who can divide five-digit numbers by two-digit numbers in her head.

She's also very skilled on the pogo stick.


Avant-garde hopes her Scripps win will inspire other African Americans to get into competitive spelling.

She said:

"I'm hoping that in a few years I'll see a whole lot more African American females, and males too, are doing well in the Scripps Spelling Bee."
"You don't really see too many African Americans doing too well at spelling bees, and that's a bit sad, because it's like a really good thing. It's a good gate opener to being interested in education."

Needless to say, her fanbase is growing quickly—with some pretty famous folks in there.








Everyone is looking to see what feat Avant-garde accomplishes next.









Avant-garde has big plans for the future.

She wants to play basketball at Harvard, go on to the WNBA and maybe even work for NASA one day.