It was a dream come true for Kelsy Brown to be crowned Miss Westlake High School, but winning the title was only one of the ambitious teen’s many personal goals.
All A’s and B’s in high school, a high GPA and getting accepted to Albany State University, her favorite historically black college, were also on her wish list. The only obstacle standing in her way to success it turns out would be herself.
Kelsy’s transition from middle school to high school was difficult. She struggled with handling her course load, studying and choosing the right friends. With a low GPA at the end of the first semester in her ninth grade year, Kelsy found support in CIS Site Coordinator Dr. Demona Warren.
“I spent too much time hanging out with my friends and on extracurricular activities instead of my studies. I needed structure and to learn how to balance everything.” What followed was a 15-minute conversation that Kelsy says changed her life forever. “CIS was a big help. They made sure I stayed on track. And they were always there for me.”
Weekly sessions and check-ins with Dr. Warren helped Kelsy learn to manage her time and chart a course for success. She failed geometry in the 10th grade and it bought her GPA down again. In her 11th grade year, Kelsy was not happy with her SAT score and in 12th grade year her ACT score. She elected to retake the exams to improve it, and she did.
With each minor set-back, Kelsy recommitted herself to her studies, worked hard and reminded herself that she could do whatever she put her mind to. She even found time to fulfill another one of her passions — managing the school’s varsity basketball and football teams.
Dr. Warren said, “She’s not the same shy, soft spoken Kelsy that I first met. The confidence she exudes now is wonderful. I am super proud of her and what she has accomplished.”
Now the senior has a 3.2 GPA and will graduate in May. The reigning Miss Westlake was one of the guest speakers at the school’s Senior Baccalaureate Service.
“I’ve overcome a lot,” says the 18 year-old, who wants to become an elementary school teacher before opening her own day care facility. “I’m really proud of myself for what I’ve achieved.”
For the talent portion of the school Miss Westlake pageant, Kelsy performed ‘I Can’t Breathe,’ a spoken word that she co-wrote with her aunt. Her inspiration came from personal experience and witnessing the struggles that so many high school students encounter.
“There were times when I felt I couldn’t breathe and I felt overwhelmed,” she said. “I wanted to speak to all students, to let them know it takes time, but you just have to be strong and you can get through it.”