Zaila Avant-garde Wins Scripps Spelling Bee 2021

Zaila Avant-garde, 14, from Harvey, Louisiana is covered with confetti as she celebrates winning the finals of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee at Disney World Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Zaila Avant-garde Wins Scripps Spelling Bee 2021

“To actually win the whole thing was like a dream come true,” she told CNN.

PUBLISHED ON : JULY 9, 2021 / 12:33 PM

Written by BET Staff

Zalia Avant-garde has won the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee and is the first Black winner representing the United States to win in 93 editions of the competition.

After correctly spelling "murraya," a type of tree, the 14-year-old from New Orleans did a spin, and a jump in the air as confetti sprinkled down, confirming her huge win. 

"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 (July 9). "I felt like in the moment I snapped out of a surreal dream."

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Zaila will receive a $50,000 cash prize. 

In 1998, Jody-Anne Maxwell, representing Jamaica, was the first Black winner of the competition. 

The talented teen has also set three Guinness world records for the most basketballs dribbled simultaneously (six basketballs for 30 seconds), the most basketballs bounce (307 bounces in 30 seconds), and the most bounce juggles in one minute (255 using four basketballs).

(Photo: AP Photo/John Raoux)

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