Making the Grade - Naya Edwards (North Shore Senior High School)

“I had a little advantage compared to my teammates at the time because I was athletic. So I had hand-eye coordination, but tennis is harder than you think. I thought it would be easy, because I played the Wii before,” Naya Edwards says.

To play the Wii, you only need a remote. To play real tennis, you have to have a racquet.

North Shore Senior High School tennis star Naya Edwards picked up a racquet in the 9th grade, began winning shortly after and hasn't put the racquet down yet.

“The rule in the house is you can't just be a student,” says Naya's mother, Lakeisha Moore. “The world and colleges are looking for well-rounded students. I work in education. I'm familiar with that, just I guess, that theme of finding the perfect student. So I wanted to make sure that Naya was well-rounded.”

A former volleyball player, tennis became her sport of choice – and it has helped shape her life.

“Volleyball was some long nights, but it’s only in the fall. Tennis is year round,” Naya says. “In tournament season, I was missing every Friday. Every week, I was missing all day of school, having to come back and make it up the next week. It pushed me. It made me prioritize and manage my time better.

With her course load and club affiliations, Naya has to manage her time well.

Choir, AP Spanish literature, AP environmental science and dual credit sociology, tennis, AP government, AP statistics and AP English literature,” Naya says.

She says she loves to write and can speak two languages – English and Spanish. All of this has paid off academically, as well. Naya is the salutatorian of her class.

“I thought the salutatorian and valedictorians they’re supposed to be immortal geniuses that everybody is kind of like, they don’t really know them but they’re like, ‘that's that smart kid’," Naya says. "Me, I’m cool with it. I'm a cool, normal student athlete person.”

In the fall, I will attend Pepperdine University on a full-ride academic scholarship.

“I love California. I have a lot of family out there. I saw it online. It's beautiful. I read about it. Then we went there recently and I got to meet some of the professors who are actually now deans there. Some are my cousin's former professors. They moved up," Naya says. "And everybody just describes it as a community place where everybody feels like family."

“I think that she is possibly one of the brightest students that I’ve ever taught. I've had a plethora of bright students to come through North Shore,” AP literature teacher Katrina Edwards says. “She is a student who is diligent, steadfast, always does her work on time, turns in everything and is always conscious about her grades and how she’s doing.”

“I'm proud of her,” Moore says. “I have faith. So the sky is the limit. Let's see what happens.”