20 for 20: Kayla Taylor, SGS Alum Class of 2014
Kayla Taylor’s love for sports first blossomed while playing soccer and basketball during her middle school years at Seattle Girls’ School. Fast forward to this spring – Kayla graduated from Virginia State University as an accomplished student athlete in NCAA Division 2 volleyball, and she was named valedictorian of VSU’s Spring Class of 2022. We could not be prouder of Kayla, and we can’t wait to see how her future continues to unfold. Read our conversation with Kayla in the latest 20 Stories for 20 Years series.
What was your experience like at Seattle Girls’ School? What comes to mind when you think back on that time?
The biggest thing that comes to mind is the instilled confidence. Middle school-aged girls are 11 to 14 years old, and the things that we were trusted to do at SGS really speaks to the mission of the school. Like the Mission to Mars project in the eighth grade, and the trips to Mexico and D.C. – these experiences instilled a lot of confidence in us. Middle school age for young women – it’s like one route or the other. It’s so easy to become small at that age, and SGS encouraged us to keep that confidence and reminded us that we can do anything we want.
How does SGS do that? What’s their special sauce?
It happens in a variety of ways. From learning Spanish starting in the first year, to taking big trips together, or the dissections we did of baby pigs – we really got to put our hands in so many different areas. And then in the smaller ways, like our weekly school meetings and getting to present to the school and share about ourselves and out lives. You become really confident.
How was the experience of being in an all-girls school environment for middle school?
When I look back, I am glad it went that way. I am glad I had those three years of middle school in an all-girls environment before moving on to a co-ed high school. For me personally, I learned important things about myself during middle school, and then I could branch off and go into this larger environment with a variety of different people. And I really liked that.
The unit of the school – the small class sizes – it makes it easier to be confident and be more open so that when I moved forward to go into a big public high school, I carried on that confidence.
Sports play a big role in your life. Can you talk more about the athletic program at SGS?
I really enjoyed it. I was not the athletic type before middle school. I tried as a young kid, but I was more the type to run away from athletics. Middle school is where I really fell in love with sports. Of course, to this day, sports are a big part of my life. After graduation, while I might not pursue sports as a player, I do hope to pursue sports broadcasting as a career.
At SGS I played soccer and basketball, and the leadership and dedication that you learn from early sports experiences is so important. I really appreciated those athletic opportunities at SGS because if I didn’t pursue sports at that time, I don’t know if I would be where I am at with sports today. Maybe I would have gotten into them in high school, but it’s hard to say.
What are you up to now? What are your current interests and passions?
I just graduated from Virginia State University where I was a mass communications major. I was a student athlete on the volleyball team, and I graduated as valedictorian of my class. During the COVID-19 pandemic years of college, I returned home to Portland, Oregon for remote learning for about a year and a half, and during that time I interned with a tech company called OpenSesame. Following graduation, I will be taking on a full-time position with that company.
I have a passion for media communications, and, of course, a love for sports. I hope to intertwine the two and pursue sports broadcasting in the future. It was during my years at SGS where I fell in love with sports, which has carried on to this day.
As SGS finishes its 20th year, what are your hopes and aspirations for the school and its next 20 years?
I hope the school can accomplish all that they plan to accomplish. SGS has been a positive impact for many. I hope they can continue to shape the lives of young girls at this very pivotal age. Especially for young Black women like myself.
Do you have any advice for future students? How can they make the most out of their time at SGS?
Just have fun. There are a lot of opportunities and experiences that you’re not going to get at a traditional middle school, so take advantage of them. Enjoy these years. Be yourself – you’ll learn a lot about yourself. The adults in your life want what is best for you. Know that there is always a bigger picture, so work hard and have fun.