First African American to win the National Spelling Bee gets offer of full LSU scholarship

July 15, 2021

Web Photo – Zaila Avant-garde holds the National Spelling Bee championship trophy.

Zaila Avant-garde, the teenager who this week became the first African American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, has earned yet another honor: an offer of a full scholarship to Louisiana State University.

“Your academic performance reflected scholarship first! You modeled intellectual excellence,” LSU President William F. Tate IV tweeted.

“@LSU_Honors awaits. I write to offer you a full scholarship to attend LSU. Here for you!,” Tate wrote.

The 14-year-old from Harvey, LA, told CNN earlier that she hopes to play basketball at Harvard University.

That would be before a career at NASA, or as a coach in the NBA, or a career in neuroscience or gene editing, the champion speller said.

Avant-garde competed against 208 other contestants from five countries to win the championship. She won the July 8th final by correctly spelling the word murraya, a type of tree.

“Congratulations Zaila! “