Junior Kelley Violett’s motivation to excel in athletics stems from her need to be physically active; she enjoys activities that are hands-on, including playing tennis and weightlifting.
“I tried all the other sports, and I never connected with anything else; I was just natural at tennis,” Violett said. “It’s the only sport where you [compete] one-on-one with someone.”
She has been playing tennis since she was 10 years old and plans to do it for the rest of her life. Violett coaches at the Montclair Country Club and helps kids improve their tennis.
“My coach contacted me and asked if I would coach the little kids camp; I’d be coaching tennis and teaching them how to play,” Violett said. “I like helping people learn, and since tennis is my passion, I like to share it. Also, watching them play is kind of funny and entertaining.”
Violett has been on the school tennis team since freshman year and works with new players on perfecting their skills. The team’s record is 9-0 ,while Violett’s record is 3-6.
“She has a lot of leadership; she has done a lot of stuff during the off season with professionals in different groups,” tennis coach Robert Devears said. “This helps with the instruction mentality in our practices.”
The biggest obstacle that Violett’s had to overcome while playing tennis is a mental block and stress. She also suffered a back injury while weight-lifting, but that didn’t stop her from playing.
“My freshman and sophomore year I would give myself a really hard time when I lost. I would get flustered and worked up; it would affect my game,” Violett said. “For the past year I have been working on improving that.”
Violett began weightlifting sophomore year to help improve her tennis skills and plans to continue strength training throughout her life. Currently, she squats 185 lbs, benches 110 lbs, and deadlifts 95 lbs.
“I wanted to do a physical class; I tried Life and Fitness, and I loved it so much that I kept going,” Violett said. “I appreciate the strength aspect of [weightlifting]; it helps [me] with tennis. It takes your entire body to [weight-lift, and] I get more strength and stability.”
Violett has also been interested in rocketry since she was nine years old and joined the National Association of Rocketry.
“She has a level one junior certification, which means she’s allowed to launch high powered rockets, the ones that you have to be on a field and let the FAA know that planes can’t fly around that area,” Violett’s mother Mary Violett said.
Violett enjoys hands on activities, including graphic imaging; she attended a programing camp that introduced her to graphic imaging and began teaching herself. She hopes to attend Virginia Tech University and play tennis in college. She also hopes to have a side job in coaching tennis and a career in graphic imaging.
“When you’re using computers to make art, it’s different than actual pen and paper. You can Photoshop it and make surreal type images,” Violett said. “The field of technical drawing is really available. They need [people to work on] video games, movies. My inspiration is Avatar; when I first watched that and found out that it was all CGI (computer-generated imagery), I thought that the technological development was [impressive].”
~ erica gudino, viewpoint director