LaGrange Academy valedictorian plans to attend UGA to become a pediatrician

Published 9:15 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

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For Kayla McBride, ending the school year as LaGrange Academy’s valedictorian was an honor she’ll never forget.

“When I learned I earned the title, I was excited. It felt like the years of hard work were like paying off, and I was really happy,” McBride said.

During her time in high school, McBride was captain of the basketball team and was involved in other organizations like the National Honor Society, Beta Club, student government, Spanish Club and a volunteer for Vernon Woods retirement home and Camp Viola.

McBride led the way to the 2023 state championship as a Warrior and leaves an impressive athletic legacy behind as she graduates. She said she still plans to have sports be an active part of her life when she heads college in the fall.

“I’m hoping to get on the intramural teams and try to play as much basketball as I can after high school,” McBride said. “It is rewarding especially since I have been on four state championship teams over my high school career, I feel like it means a lot to be an inspiration to little girls who look up to me.”

As her time in high school comes to a close, McBride said she will miss LaGrange Academy and its people the most.

“I’ve gone to school here since kindergarten, and everyone there is like my family. They’ve really helped me get to the point where I am today, not just academically, but also in my everyday life,” McBride said. “I am going to miss their guidance and having a home away from home.”

Since she graduated, McBride said she has been sending her days doing pilates and enjoying her time with family and friends before leaving for college in the fall.

In preparation for her graduation day speech, McBride said she wanted to reflect on her time at the school and how it impacted her to where she is now.

“I wrote out some things I was thankful for at the Academy over the years —all the experiences they’ve given me, our unique situation in our small school and how it’s really impacted me,” McBride said. “I thought about everything and thanked my parents, and my teachers and talked about each one of my classmates.”

McBride said she credits her family as well as the LA staff for her academic success.

“My family helped me reach the point where I’m at, but it also had a lot to do with the teachers that I surrounded myself with over the past 13 years because I wouldn’t be who I am without them or my parents,” McBride said.

“I credit all my teachers and my parents, Dennis and Karen McBride, because I wouldn’t be the person today, both academically and outside of school, without them. They supported me but my teachers also supported me, which helped me have double the success.”

After graduation, McBride plans to attend the University of Georgia and major in biochemistry and molecular biology.

“My ultimate goal is to become a pediatrician. I want to complete undergrad and then go on to med school,” McBride said. “I’ve always been passionate about science and helping kids. So, I felt becoming a pediatrician would be the perfect job for me because I could incorporate both science and a love for children.”

As the class of 2024 awaits their turn to graduate, McBride leaves them with a few words of advice.

“Focus on your school studies but don’t let that run your whole life. Have goals but also be thankful for those along the way that have helped you grow because you’ll look back on these years and be grateful for your academic success and those who you have helped impact,” McBride said.