More than an athlete: Kenzie Hornsby serves the community on and off the diamond

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, January 10, 2024

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Kenzie Hornsby is making an impact on and off the diamond in the LaGrange. The LaGrange College junior softball player is more than just an athlete, she is making an impact in the community off the diamond. 

As a servant scholar, Hornsby has become deeply involved with helping the community. Her primary focus is the Discovery Cottage students at Lafayette Christian School.

“I just get to go, help whatever the teachers need me to do I’m there to do,” Hornsby said. 

Hornsby has always had a passion for helping children and the Discovery Cottage has been a natural fit for her.

“I read just like a small little blurb of what it was it was just talking about how they really work on developing the cognitive needs for the kids,” Hornsby said. “Since they’re affiliated with Lafayette Christian school, they’re a very Faith Based program too which is important to me.

“When I went in and saw the kids for the first time I knew this was for me.”

The Discovery Cottage is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast amount of service Hornsby gives to the community.

“I’m on the executive board for LC Miracle, which is a nonprofit that we have on campus that raises money for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” she said. “We put on the dance marathon here that a lot of people do across the nation. We teach the dance to everybody there, including some miracle kids from the hospital.”

She is also a servant scholar and has served as a “buddy” during the Miracle League of LaGrange inaugural season among other outreach programs she has become involved with. 

Hornsby has only been in the community for 2.5 years now but pours her heart and soul into this area as if she has been here her whole life. A native of Reeltown, Alabama, Hornsby used to visit Lafayette Square growing up with little idea that she would be a LaGrange College Panther someday.

In fact, Hornsby was not even aware of the college’s existence until she was looking for a place to play college softball.

“I grew up like coming to the square to get my prom dresses, but I never drove past the square so I didn’t even know about the college until I got an email from the previous softball coach,” Hornsby said with a chuckle. 

Despite landing in “the perfect spot” for her, it certainly did not always feel that way. The coach that Hornsby was recruited by up and left during the summer between her senior year in high school and freshman year of college. For a short stint Hornsby felt rudderless and without a paddle, but fortunately the new coach — Mel Rushing — said that she would still have a spot on the team and the rest is history.

“I was really stressed out all summer because I didn’t know where I stood,” she said. “It was definitely scary, not knowing if I technically was still on the team or not, you know being at a DIII school, you don’t get athletic scholarships, you have to kind of get a spot, but you rely on academic scholarships.”

Rushing assured Hornsby that she had a spot on the team and the two bonded instantly.

The selfless attitude that Hornsby displays away from the diamond is equally present when she is on the softball field. 

“I always told (Rushing) whenever I came in that I would do anything she wanted me to do,” Hornsby said. “I used to pitch a little bit in high school, but that’s definitely not my strong suit. So I was like ‘I’ll do anything you want me to do. I can throw a strike. Probably wouldn’t recommend doing that, though.’”

Originally recruited as a utility player/second baseman, Hornsby now finds herself in contention to start at centerfield as a junior after undergoing a position change.

Her goals for this season have little to do with her playing time or individual stats. She, like the rest of the team she says, is focused on one goal: “making it further in the playoffs.”

There is rarely a dull moment or downtime in Hornsby’s day. Not content with her already packed workload of school, softball, extracurricular activities and maintaining a social life, Hornsby spent the fall helping with the LaGrange High JV softball team. 

No matter what the capacity, Hornsby has always felt the call to help others.

“I have such a heart for kids, and I really enjoy being able to just kind of pour into them. And honestly, they pour a lot into me, they make my day every day,” she said.