Family comes to Watts’ aidPublished 12:01am Thursday, April 18, 2013
NATCHEZ — Between cheerleading, softball and track, Cathedral High School sophomore Mackenzie Watts often stays up until midnight to get all of her schoolwork done.
The busy schedule hasn’t seemed to affect her schoolwork — she had a 3.7 grade-point average as of Christmas. But Watts admitted she’s often exhausted in school. And if it wasn’t for some helping hands, Watts said she’d be in trouble.
“If I didn’t have my mom, I probably wouldn’t get through school,” Watts said.
Her mother, Kirby Watts, is a teacher at Joseph L. Frazier Primary School, and Mackenzie said having a teacher help with homework makes a world of difference.
“She’s the one that makes sure I keep my schoolwork up,” Mackenzie said. “It’s a lot easier, because she knows what all is going on. It’s especially helpful because I get home so late.”
Kirby said she sees herself as more of an encourager and that her daughter is pretty good about getting her studies done on her own.
“She has to set it up, study and do it on her own, but I try to keep her motivated and make her get it all done ahead of time,” Kirby said. “But she’s pretty much self-motivated about studying.”
And even though she often sees sports and school pile up for her daughter, Kirby said she encourages Mackenzie to be involved with as many activities as possible.
“If she can keep As and Bs and play the sports and enjoy her high school career, I think that’s great,” she said.
Her background as a teacher is what drives her to instill the importance of grades into Mackenzie.
“She has said, ‘I hate my mom being a teacher,’ because I’m always on her case all the time,” Kirby joked. “But that’s just what she has to do. It’s importance that, once she leaves here, that she’s able to go off to college and do well on her own and get a job.”
Mackenzie, who has also played basketball her freshman year and will pick up the sport again this coming winter, said she doesn’t regret being busy all of the time.
“I’ve always loved sports,” she said. “I love all of them.”
Her favorite sport is cheerleading, which is also the sports she sees herself as being best at.
“I love cheering for the football team on Friday nights, and I love to tumble,” Mackenzie said. “I like group activities with my friends.”
Since she’s playing with a lot of the same people in each sport, Mackenzie said it’s a great way to bond with her teammates throughout the year.
“It requires a lot of teamwork and encouraging others, and it makes your friendships better,” Mackenzie said.
Mackenzie starts in centerfield for the Lady Green Wave, and softball is a sport she’s been playing since she was 5. Her favorite part about softball is running down fly balls in the outfield
“I love ruining people’s hits,” she said. “It’s hard (playing center), because you have to cover more than half the field and make sure you get the ball in (to the infield).”
While it’s her mother helping her with sports, Mackenzie’s father, Henry, is the one who assists her with athletics.
“He always works with me with my hitting,” Mackenzie said. “Having my dad around is so much better.”