McKenzie Giles is one of 27 valedictorians.

What college do you plan to attend? Palm Beach Atlantic University.”

What have you done to manage both sports and academics? “I’ve had to sacrifice a lot to be excellent both on the field and in the classroom. It was definitely hard because being a student athlete [because] you don’t have time for everything that you want to do. So I’ve just really had to manage my time and choose what is most important to me.”

What was appealing to you about the college you plan to attend?  “It’s right on the beach, it’s a great university that is centered around Christian beliefs, and I really liked the environment and mindset of the coach and team.” 

What do you think will be the biggest change for you going from high school to college?  “I think the biggest challenge is going to be not having my parents around.  They have always been so supportive and encouraging of me and my dreams and it’s going to be hard not talking to them everyday.”

What are you planning in majoring in? “Exercise Science and Business.” 

Why did you choose that major? “I choose this major because I want to either be a strength and conditioning coach for a college team or pro team.”

What is the most important lesson high school has taught you?  “High school has taught me a lot of different lessons over the last four years but I think the biggest take away is to always be yourself. I know that sounds super cliché but I’ve realized that not everyone is going to like you and everyone is just trying to fit in so [you] just have to be solid in who you are and not change yourself to fit in or be accepted.”

How did it feel to get your first offer to play soccer in college? “It was really exciting and I felt super grateful because there are a lot of girls who really want to play in college but don’t get the opportunity.”

How did you decide that you wanted to play soccer in college? “It was a no brainer, I have always wanted to play in college ever since I was little and so I worked hard to make sure that happened.”

What are you most looking forward to about your college experience?  “I’m super excited to make new friends and continue to grow and work on my craft.”

What was your favorite part of your high school experience? “My favorite part of high school was being apart of the soccer team.”

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