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Celebration held for Scripps Spelling Bee champion Zaila Avant-garde

"I watched her work for this I watched her do the 13,000 words a day, listen to her music in her own world and when it came through she worked for this."

HARVEY, La. — A parade and second-line were held in honor of National Spelling Bee Champion, Zaila Avant-garde on Sunday.

The 14-year-old Harvey native was crowned champion after she successfully spelled the word “murraya" at the Scripps National Spelling Bee on July 8.

Zulu Tramps led the second line while supporters, family and friends lined up in their cars to hand her balloons, cards and handmade signs and to congratulate her on the achievement.

Zaila who also holds three Guinness World Records is now the first African American winner of the spelling bee and only the second Black champion in the bee's nearly 100-year history. 

After her win, two Louisiana universities offered her full-ride scholarships, Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge and Louisiana State University.

"I watched her work for this I watched her do the 13,000 words a day, listen to her music in her own world and when it came through she worked for this," said her mother Alma Heard as she expressed how proud she was of her daughter. 

"I really hope that they are inspired to do things themselves and teach their daughters to do stuff. Don't let anybody stop you, don't let anybody say you can't, just go for it," said  Zaila Avant-garde.