High Five: New resident makes positive impact

Published 4:32 pm Friday, September 22, 2023

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Southside senior Virginia Gray moved to Blounts Creek from Raleigh in January, halfway through her junior year at Raleigh Millbrook High School. Gray is still settling into her new environment, but starting the tennis team at her new school helped her make an immediate impact.

  1. What is your tennis background?

Virginia: My grandpa encouraged me to play when I was seven. I grew up playing at Northridge Country Club in Raleigh and played my junior year at Millbrook HS. I’ve always enjoyed playing, so I thought it would be fun to have a team here.

  1. Describe the process of starting a new sport at a new school.

Virginia: Assistant principal Damon Wolcott has been a big help since I transferred in. He helped me organize my schedule and decide when I should take the ACT among other things. I mentioned it to him in the spring and he thought we had a shot. I talked to Coach Q (athletic director Andrea Quinerly) and he was open to the idea if I could find enough girls to play.

I started recruiting my friends and had a list before school was out. They told me we could have a team and here we are.

  1. What did you think when you found out?

Virginia: I thought it was really cool and at first, I couldn’t believe I pulled it off. It’s a great feeling when you prove to yourself that you can do something. It’s been so much fun so far. My teammates hadn’t really played much tennis, so I’ve been staying after practice and working with whoever wants to get better. I’ve learned all sorts of drills over the years and have helped them with serves, forehand, backhand and other strokes. It’s also helped me improve and it’s been really neat to watch everyone get better.

  1. You’ve also published a book. How did that come about?

Virginia: I started to really like writing in sixth grade. I took a Creative Writing class in ninth grade during COVID-19 and we did a huge all-year project that helped us learn the publishing process. Mine has all kinds of writing in it, including poems, short stories and a dystopian novella. I was almost ready to do another one, but the flash drive my material was on fell in the water and I lost everything.

  1. What are your plans after graduation?

Virginia: I’m not sure yet and I’m keeping my options open. I’m interested in engineering, chiropractic and dance, so I could end up anywhere. N.C. St., UNC-Chapel Hill, Appalachian State and Meredith College are on my list right now. I still have time to figure it out.