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Scholar athlete: Gilmore taking transfer to Trinity Episcopal in stride

Kayla Gilmore, a Trinity Episcopal Day School junior, plays power foward on the girls basketball team and recently made the headmaster’s list. She transferred this year to Trinity from Natchez High School. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)
Kayla Gilmore, a Trinity Episcopal Day School junior, plays power foward on the girls basketball team and recently made the headmaster’s list. She transferred this year to Trinity from Natchez High School. (Brittney Lohmiller \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Kayla Gilmore was looking for a new challenge, a challenge she said has been met at Trinity Episcopal Day School.

The junior power forward spent her first two years of high school at Natchez High School but transferred to Trinity this year. She’s already made her mark academically at the school, being named to the headmaster’s list after the most recent grading period.

“I thought coming to a new place would be good,” Gilmore said. “It felt it would be a better environment, and so far it’s been a great fit. It’s a great school.”

Gilmore also played softball earlier this fall, and she said she noticed during the season that the teachers would go the extra mile to support their students.

“They want you to do better and push you,” Gilmore said. “We went to South State this year, and they brought us small gifts to support us, like sunflower seeds, since we like to chew on them. That was really cool.”

And Gilmore credits her teachers’ support as one of the main reasons her academic success translated well at Trinity.

“You feel like you can do more if you have a teacher behind you,” Gilmore said. “You don’t have to do it all by yourself. If you don’t have the knowledge to get there, there’s a teacher who will help you get to where you want to be.”

A good support group at home is also key, and Gilmore said her parents, Kimberly Gilmore and Shawn Thompson, are always there to push her and make sure she gets her schoolwork done.

“They’re really good at it,” she said. “My dad is always pushing me, and my mom always says, ‘In order to get better, you have to do better.’

“It’s very important for me to have them. If you feel like no one is behind you (at home), you don’t have the motivation to do better. I’ll keep my grades up just so I won’t have to get their reaction if I don’t.”

Balancing schoolwork and sports isn’t difficult, Gilmore said, thanks in part to third-period study hall.

“I want to get my homework done at school so when I get home, all I have to do is study instead of doing the written work,” Gilmore said. “I’m never stressed because I can get home from practice and not have to worry about getting it done, since it already is done. I feel like that’s how it should be for every student that wants to get it done.”

Prior to this season, Gilmore had never played for a school basketball team. She did play in the local YBA league when she was younger.

“I’m doing new things, so I figured, why not?” Gilmore said. “With me getting my work done at school, this lets me get out and try something new.”

So far, the Lady Saints are 1-1 on the season, and Gilmore said she’s enjoyed playing.

“I want to learn a lot so I can be a lot better,” Gilmore said. “Sometimes I get lost, but I’m a great listener and learner, so I’m catching on well.”