HBCU Offers National Spelling Bee Champ Zaila Avant-garde Full Scholarship


Last week, Zaila Avant-garde became the first African American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Now, schools are lining up to offer the young academic star full ride scholarships.

On Friday, Avant-garde caught the attention of Southern University and A&M College. The institution is is the largest HBCU in Louisiana. Dr. Ray Belton, president the Southern University System, shared his congratulatory remarks on twitter and offered her a tour of the campuses across the state.

“We at SU celebrate you, Zaila! You are a phenomenal representation of our great state of #Louisiana in all that you do. If you would ever like to take a look at any of our campuses across the state, do let us know.”

On Saturday afternoon, Dr. Belton followed up with a full-ride scholarship.

“I am pleased to announce that @Southernu_BR is offering #ZailaAvantgarde a full scholarship and “#Zaila Day” at SU, part of the nation’s only #HBCU system. Our student leaders, faculty, and alumni look forward meeting with you. We welcome you to the #JaguarNation!”

Avant-garde is On Track to Achieve Success Beyond the Spelling Bee

Avant-garde has been making headlines ever since she claimed her spelling bee victory on Thursday (July 8) evening. She competed in the 93rd competition in Orlando with ten other finalists from around the country and the Bahamas. The 14-year-old Louisiana native made history after she correctly spelled “murraya.” She was awarded a $50,000 cash prize, medal, Scripps Cup, an official trophy, and other sponsored perks. 

The next day Former President Barack Obama shared how proud he was of Avant-garde’s accomplishments.

In addition to being named the country’s top speller, Avant-garde has earned three Guinness world records for her basketball prowess. In 2019, the young athlete earned her first record for the most bounce juggles.

According to NBC Sports, Avant-garde has her eyes set on the WNBA.

“Basketball, I’m not just playing it. I’m really trying to go somewhere with it. Basketball is what I do,” Zaila said, per NBC Sports. “Spelling is really a side thing I do. It’s like a little hors d’ouevre. But basketball’s like the main dish.”

There’s no doubt that we will see more of Avant-garde on the basketball court in college.



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