Zaila Avant-garde, a 14 year old from Louisiana, on Thursday became the first African-American to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in the United States – breaking the 12-year spell of students of Indian descent winning the competition. A spelling bee is a contest in which participants must spell aloud words announced by a judge. The high-profile Scripps National Spelling Bee is closely followed by students and their parents across the US and the finals are broadcast on prime-time television. This year, the winner got a cash prize of $50,000.