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2021 ESPY Awards - Arrivals

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With talents in spelling, basketball and mathematics, Zaila Avant-garde is the one to watch. There’s no telling what this 13-year-old wonder will accomplish next. Whatever it is, colleges and universities want to be a part of it.

According to WWLTV, Avant-garde, who became the first African American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee, has been offered full-ride scholarships to college at 14-years-old.

On Saturday, Louisiana State University (LSU) President William F. Tate IV tweeted an offer to Avant-garde, a native of Harvey Louisiana, extending the offer.

The tweet reads: “Zaila Avant-garde @basketballasart performed at the highest level in the National Spelling Bee. Your academic performance reflected scholarship first! You modeled intellectual excellence. @LSU_Honors awaits. I write to offer you a full scholarship to attend LSU. Here for you!”

Tate’s offer is not the only one on the table.

Southern University President-Chancellor Ray L. Belton also offered Avant-garde a 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 to meeting with you. We welcome you to the #JaguarNation! #WeAreSouthern.”

According to The Hill, Louisiana Community and Technical College followed suit offering her a full ride to any school in their system, stating that they believe their aerospace technology program would be a good fit for her.

Avant-garde has stated that in additional to becoming a WNBA player, she would also like to work for NASA.

Colleges and universities are far from the only people who have taken notice of Zaila’s talent. With three Guinness World Records to her name, words of encouragement and congratulations have poured in from across the country, including for former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah, and KeKe Palmer, who portrayed the fictional winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the film Akeelah and the Bee.

Palmer wrote, “THE REAL LIFE AKEELAH YOU GUYS!!  I’m so happy in my heart. A couple of weeks ago I sent a video encouraging all the contestants and for this to happen just feels spiritual!…Major love to Doug Atchison that allowed me to act a dream and thank God for letting me live to see it come to fruition.”

Avant-garde who has conducted several interviews since her historic win shared that her success in this arena didn’t happen overnight.

According to WWLTV, Avant-garde finished 370th in the contest two years ago, when she was in sixth grade. But after practicing spelling for seven hours a day, she was able to emerge victorious.

She told “CBS This Morning,” “It’s kind of like a dream come true because I’ve been working for that goal for like two years, and to finally have it is the best possible outcome.”

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