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Spelling is my side hobby

Zaila Avant-Garde is now the reigning champion of the National Spelling Bee! She is the first African American contestant to win and just the second Black winner (Jody-Anne Maxwell won in 1998 representing Jamaica). Avant-Garde won the Spelling Bee by spelling the word Murraya. Murraya is a genus of flowering citrus tree that comes from Eastern Asia and Australia. Charles Linnaeus was the first botanist to formally describe the plant, gave it a Latin name inspired by one of his Swedish botany students.

“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. I felt like in the moment I shaped out a surreal dream,” the 14-year-old told CNN”s New Day crew. After she realized she won, she spun and jumped in the air as confetti rained from the sky. Zaila had to spell words such as solidungulate, and nepeta to make history!

But the Spelling champ says that spelling is her side hobby and that basketball is her true love. The champion holds three different Guinness World Records for dribbling basketballs simultaneously; most bounce juggles in one minute with four basketballs, the most basketball bounces in 30 seconds with four basketballs, and tied the record for most basketballs dribbled (six) by one person. The basketball prodigy has hopes of playing in the WNBA and/or become a coach in the NBA. Avant-Garde also has plans to attend Harvard University where she plans to play collegiate basketball. “I like working with NASA and doing gene editing. I have a lot of different things I’m interested in.”

The future is bright for the fierce intelligent young Queen.


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