This year’s spelling bee champ is Fascinating.
Zaila Avant-garde, a 14-year-old from Harvey, Louisiana, wrote history Thursday, when she became the first African-American winner and the second black champion in Scripps National Spelling Bee’s 96-year history.
But that may not even be the most interesting thing about the teenager.
Zaila, who dipped her toe in competing spelling just two years ago, knows how to quickly read and discovered she could divide five-digit numbers by double-digit numbers in her head, according to The New York Times.
Just do not ask her to explain the secret behind this mathematical feat.
“It’s like asking a millipede how they go with all these legs,” she told the Times.
But Zaila is not just a brainiac. She’s a baller too.
The talented basketball player has set three Guinness World Records: one for most basketballs dribbled simultaneously (six basketballs for 30 seconds); most basketball jumps (307 jumps in 30 seconds); and the most bouncy juggling in one minute (255 using four basketballs).
She also has some serious pogo stick skills.
Aside from all her accomplishments, she just hopes her historic victory on Thursday inspires others.
“I hope in a few years I will see a lot more African American women and men doing well in Scripps Spelling Bee as well,” Zaila told Good Morning America on Friday. “You can not really see too many African Americans doing too well with the spelling of bees, and it’s a little sad, because it’s like a really good thing. It is a good gate opener for being interested in education. ”
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