Zaila Avant-Garde is the first African-American to win the National Spelling Bee title.
Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old from Harvey, Louisiana, correctly spelling the word "Murraya" – a genus of tropical Asiatic and Australian trees having pinnate leaves and flowers-- to win the National Spelling Bee title.
Zaila outlasted a field of 11 finalists to win, including 12-year-old Chaitra Thummala of Frisco, Texas, to take home the first-place prize of $50,000. In the process, she became the first Louisiana resident and the first African-American to win the title in the competition's 93-year history.
A basketball prodigy, Zaila holds three Guinness World Records for her ability to dribble multiple basketballs at a time. She hopes to one day play in the WNBA.