Zaila Avante-garde Is the First African American to Win the National Spelling Bee

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Zaila wins the bee!

This past weekend, Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old from Louisiana, took home the top spot at the 96th Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. Zaila was the first African American to win the famous spelling competition and the first person from Louisiana, too. 

In the earlier rounds, Zaila conquered "retene, ancistroid, and depreter." Her final word for the win was "murraya." 

Zaila's win was a bit of a surprise because the young teen had just begun spelling competitions 2 years prior. In her first Scripps attempt, she tied for 370th place. 

"For spelling, I usually try to do about 13,000 words (per day), and that usually takes about seven hours or so," Zaila told the Associated Press. "We don't let it go way too overboard, of course. I've got school and basketball to do."

Her spelling skills aren't the only thing that makes Zaila a special young woman, she's also a three-time Guinness World Record holder for her basketball talents.

Zaila is setting her sights on a Harvard degree and possibly working for NASA or heading to the NBA. For this prodigy, however, the sky is truly the limit. 

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