South Charlotte

Observer honors Seniors of the Year: Kyla Risko


School: South Mecklenburg High School.

Class rank: No. 1 of 407.

College: University of South Carolina.

Parents: James and Heather Risko.

Kyla's words: "I'm very passionate about everything I do. I'm a detail person. I have to complete what I start. ... I don't view failure as a permanent thing. I just do my best and see where the chips fall."

Superlative: Managed a tutoring program at Quail Hollow Middle School.

Kyla Risko is no stranger to success on the tennis court.

As captain of her tennis team, the graduating senior has held the No. 1 and No. 2 spot, while also leading her peers to state quarterfinals and state semifinals.

While athletics have always been a part of her life, Kyla said she has always placed her school work ahead of everything else.

"I've been the captain on the tennis team for the past two years, and I was able to gain leadership qualities, but academics always came first for me," Kyla said.

The South Mecklenburg High School senior plans to attend the University of South Carolina in the fall, majoring in chemical engineering.

Kyla said she hopes to one day continue on to law school and become a patent lawyer.

The future graduate said she originally wanted to branch into mechanical engineering, but changed her mind after taking a chemistry class two years ago.

As for her love of engineering, she said she received that passion from her father, James Risko.

"I've grown up with my dad working around engineers, and I think I inherited that from him," said Kyla. "It's just something I am really interested in."

Aside from her goals, in high school Kyla participated in the National Honor Society, National Math Honor Society, Nation Science Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, and was on the "A" honor roll all four years.

She also was voted on by teachers in the school to receive the Daughters of the American Revolution good citizen award.

"Her father and I couldn't be any prouder of her," said Heather Risko, Kyla's mother. "She is one of the hardest workers I know, and I hope she continues that."

As for her biggest inspiration, Kyla attributes that to her parents and wants to thank them for their contributions.

"Thank you for supporting me in everything I do," Kyla said. "They have always supported me and really helped."

As for advice in Kyla's future, her mother said, "As long as you do something you are naturally good at, then you will succeed at life. As long as she continues on that path she will be happy."