PETAL, MS (WDAM) - A Petal Panther is headed to an Ivy League school with a scholarship. The multifaceted senior balances, beauty, brains and basketball all at the same time. In your good news, we introduce you to a young woman shooting for the stars.
Myla Cox of the Petal School District is ahead of the game. Her acceptance letter and scholarship to the prestigious Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island are just some of her trophies.
“I cried first, then I told my mom then she cried with me; we called everybody,” said Cox, a senior. "It was such a big moment.”
The varsity captain is a baller.
“Basketball was kind of my outlet," Cox said. "Anytime that I needed time to get away, it was something that I just put my mind and my heart to.”
The shooting guard also shoots for stars in her academics.
“I want to have a degree in biomedical engineering,” Cox said.
She’s had success in rigorous classes paired with killing it on the court.
“It’s been hard at times, there have been times when you kind of just want to lay back and just kind of realize what you’re doing,” Cox said. “You wonder if you really want to do it, but I have always pushed through and persevered, and I’m glad I did because of where I am.”
Cox traded in her kicks for a shot at another accomplishment. She’s the first black “Distinguished Young Woman” representing Petal. She explained it’s a competition encouraging young women to be the best version of themselves.
“Being a black female from Mississippi, from the south, I want to be a person who people can look up to and think, ‘If she’s doing it, I can do it too,’” Cox said.
It was an experience she said was full of fun, friendship, support and camaraderie.
“It helped me get out of my comfort zone because I never wore heels and a dress,” Cox said. “Look at me now!”
Cox made sure to mention many of those who’ve been playing on her team.
“My coach has really driven me to be that player, to be that captain, to be that captain to lead with respect and to be a good role model," Cox said. “I really couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
“It’s one of those schools where teachers are really putting themselves in 100 percent to help students get to where they need to go,” Cox said.
Cox tore her ACL and said the experience made her mentally stronger. She said it was another highlight to the fact that academics matter just as much as athletics.
Now, she pays it forward by setting an example. She crosses over from balling to books, proving it’s never too late to take your best shot.
“I would hope they [other students] would never give up. If they really do have a dream that they’re shooting for there is nothing that can stop you," Cox said.