Zaila Avant-garde was born in 2007, in Harvey, Louisiana. Her parents homeschooled her and her siblings, and it has been paying huge dividends. Her first feat to conquer happened when she first started dribbling a basketball at 5 years old. She received a Guinness World Record book at the age of eight, and from there she set her sights on being a world record holder.
And what Zaila sets her mind to, she achieves. She would go on to get not one, but three world records for the most dribbles in one minute. First with three basketballs, then her second was the most bounce juggles with four basketballs in one minute, and her third was for the most basketballs dribbled by one person simultaneously. To say she achieved her goal is an understatement, Zaila smashed it. But she wasn’t done yet, Zaila would go on to set her sights on making history.
Her new goal had her locked in to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Most kids begin to practice for such a feat at a very young age, some starting as early as 5 years old. But Zaila only began several years ago. She would train rigorously to achieve this goal, and in 2019 she fell short tying for 370th place out of 600. This didn’t stop her though, by 2020 Zaila would go on to win the Kaplan University Online Spelling Bee, bringing her one step closer to her ultimate goal.
On July 8, 2021 Zaila would achieve just that, she would become the first African American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She would receive a trophy and $50,000 in cash but the biggest prize was achieving what she set out to do. This is what makes Zaila Avant-Garde such a special Hometown Athlete. Now think about your own goals, and start chasing them today.