Spelling Bee Champ Zaila Avant-garde Racks Up Scholarship Offers


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Zaila Avant-garde has had quite a busy week. On Thursday, the 14-year-old scholar became the first Black American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Forty-eight hours later, she was being celebrated by the likes of Naomi Osaka and Sha'Carri Richardson at the ESPYs in New York. This morning, she's busy sorting through a number of scholarship offers that were sent following the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

"I am pleased to announce that Southern University is offering Zaila Avant-garde a full scholarship and 'Zaila Day' at Southern University, part of the nation’s only HBCU system. Our student leaders, faculty, and alumni look forward [to] meeting with you. We welcome you to the Jaguar Nation," Southern University President Ray L. Belton tweeted.

"Zaila Avant-garde performed at the highest level in the National Spelling Bee. Your academic performance reflected scholarship first! You modeled intellectual excellence. LSU awaits. I write to offer you a full scholarship to attend LSU. Here for you," Louisiana State University President William Tate IV added.

The 14-year-old star has a few more years before she must make a final decision. As a Louisiana resident, she could very well choose to attend Southern or LSU, but she has publicly expressed that Harvard University is her dream school. In addition, she's expressed interest in playing college basketball and potentially playing in the WNBA one day. Once her playing days are over, she is also interested in studying neuroscience and working for NASA. Simply put, she wants to do it all and she has the talent to pull it off.

As the Louisiana teenager pursues her dreams, she will have the support of some of the world's greatest figures. ESPN's LaChina Robinson, actor Anthony Mackie and several others showed support for the bright teen.

"Three Guinness World Records and now the national spelling bee champ! Congrats, Zaila—your hard work is paying off. We’re all proud of you," former President Barack Obama tweeted.

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