Zaila Avant-garde Becomes the First African American to Win National Spelling Bee

On Thursday, Zaila Avant-garde became the first African American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

The Louisiana teen gained her victory after spelling murraya, which she said she associated with Bill Murray.

After realizing she won,  she celebrated a celebratory spin and jump in the air.

Before Zaila, the only other Black winner was Jody-Anne Maxwell of Jamaica in 1998.

The teen had to surpass words like querimonious and solundugate to advance in the competition.

“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,” she told CNN’s “New Day” on Friday.

She not only took home the trophy, but she will also be getting $50,000.

The competition started out with 209 spellers ages 9 to 15 and only 11 entered Thursday’s final.

The spelling bee isn’t Zaila’s first win though, she also holds a Guinness World Record for most bounce juggles in one minute.

Since then she has said she hopes to play basketball at Harvard and have a career at NASA or a coach in the NBA.

Since her historic win, Zaila has received congratulation’s from other important Black figures such as President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris.

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Photo Credit: The New York Times