KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
June 26, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
The long-time Faith West Academy eagle mascot has decided to leave the nest. Kayla Wylie became a fixture at school events as she entertained crowds as the fighting eagle. The popular junior chose to graduate early to take a gap year and travel before starting college. Faith West Academy students, families and staff will remember the fun-loving girl in the mascot costume who left a lasting impression on her school.
Kayla Wylie graduates a year early from Faith West Academy, retiring as the school's mascot.
After entertaining crowds as the school's mascot for six years, Kayla Wylie has hung up her fighting eagle costume. She chose to graduate a year early from Faith West Academy to take a gap year before attending High Point University to pursue a history degree.
An Entertaining Mascot Since 6th Grade
Kayla tried out for the mascot position when she enrolled at Faith West Academy. She hoped to make friends and get involved at the school, and she certainly did.
“Little did we know she would create this awesome creative Eagle that became a fun part of school events her entire time there,” says her parents Amy and Rusty Wylie.
Kayla became the eagle mascot in sixth grade and kept the entire school entertained for the remainder of her time at Faith West. She brought her funny personality and effortless joy to many at sporting events, pep rallies and more.
“Kayla is always so energetic and made all of us on the cheer team feel so special,” says Allie Hilton, varsity cheerleader.
Kayla’s performances never failed to make the audience laugh. Some of her skits included her role as Taekwondo Eagle and Santa Eagle, or riding on her electric scooter. And regardless of the weather conditions, Kayla was always eager to make people smile.
Faith West Academy Cheer Coach Heather Laird said Kayla brought a creative humor to the team and school.
“We never knew what new, innovative surprise was in store for us,” says Laird. “Whatever it was, maybe a Mario Cart race with a homemade car fabricated from cardboard or our famous Eagle dressed as Cupid we were always sure to get a dose of laughter and school spirit.”
Graduating During a Pandemic
“Graduating during COVID was bittersweet,” says Kayla. “Bitter, because I didn’t get to do any of my newly-earned senior perks like class trip or prom but also sweet because I got an extended vacation before summer even started.”
Kayla plans to be a history professor, and based on how she can captivate people’s attention with stories, she is sure to make an impression on her future students.
“We can’t put into words how proud we are of this amazing kid who has overcome so much to get to where she is,” says her parents.
Kayla's older sister Kelsey will be a sophomore at the University of Kentucky this fall. She is proud of how hard Kayla worked in school and as the mascot.
"She was such a light at Faith West as the Eagle and it was such a joy to watch her out on the field every game," says Kelsey Wylie. "I am so excited to watch all the amazing things that God has set out before her!”
“She is such a hard worker and loves school,” says her parents. “She had to take a very difficult load of college classes to make it happen. We watched her step it up during Covid and finish this year with her best grades yet.”
“I can’t wait to be able to reminisce and tell stories about my insane senior year with family and friends when I’m older,” says Kayla.
Jennifer Dubiki, one of Kayla’s teachers, says her favorite memories revolve around the young girl’s talent for writing.
“In sixth grade she wrote me beautiful, in-depth mystery stories that I probably should’ve just passed on to a literary agent—they were that good!” says Dubiki. “She’s incredibly insightful—Kayla sees right to the heart of most things, which gives her a unique perspective on the world that I’m going to miss getting to read about.”
"Faith West Academy has been so blessed to have a mascot like Kayla," says Principal Mary Strickland. "She has been a joy as a student and a mascot."
“I’m glad for graduating early because I not only graduated in 2020, but I also got to graduate under circumstances that are unique and will probably not be forgotten for years to come,” says Kayla.