Spelling Bee Winner, Zaila Avant-garde, Gets Full Scholarships to College

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Zaila Avant-garde isn't just racking up National Spelling Bee wins, she's also racking up full rides to college.

The 14-year-old made headlines last week when she became the first African American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 93 editions of the competition. The Louisiana native won the crown when she correctly spelled murraya — a type of citrus tree.

Since then, not one but several colleges have made attempts to take the teen under their wing and offer her full-ride scholarships. On Friday, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System was the first academic institution to offer Avant-garde a scholarship to attend any community and technical college in the state. The next day, LSU President William F. Tate IV and Southern University President Ray L. Belton followed suit with offers from their respective schools.
Belton even emphasized that Avant-garde would receive the honor of getting a day named after her at the historically Black institution.

As if the teenager couldn't be any more impressive, it's worth noting that her achievements do not just include her winning last week's Bee. She's currently the Guinness World Records title holder for most bounce juggles in one minute.

Avant-garde hopes to use her many skills to work at NASA or as a coach in the NBA one day, but told CNN that she "may also pursue a career in neuroscience or gene editing."

In an interview with the network's New Day on Friday, she said of her recent success: "It felt really good to win because I have been working on it for like two years. So to actually win the whole thing was like a dream come true. I felt like in the moment I snapped out of a surreal dream."
We can't wait to see how much more you accomplish, Zaila.

Tags: Groundbreaking Women, Pop Culture

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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