A Thorold athlete with her sights set on publishing is getting ready to wrap up her time at university in Massachusetts, USA.
Next, Gates MacPherson, 19, a former Thorold Secondary School track and field-competitor, plans to head to Greece to continue her major in English.
"I'm working hard with the track team, while in the honours program, and I'm also an RA (residence assistant) at my dorm. It's pretty busy," was the way MacPherson summed up her weeks in a phone interview from Endicott College in Beverly, a suburb of the state capital Boston, currently awaiting a frigid snowstorm.
It was both her accomplishments on the field and in the classroom, where MacPherson made the honour roll, that led to several prep-schools trying to headhunt MacPherson, wanting her to cross the southern border to study.
At 16, after considering thirteen scholarship offers, MacPherson left for Easthampton, Mass. to kick off her career, after ranking among the top competitors in Ontario-wide championships for varsity teams.
An active player of volleyball and basketball, as well as track and field, her weekly physical regimen includes training around 4-5 days per week in the off-season, with weight training three times weekly - all while attending classes in English- and religious studies.
While the pandemic still has the world - and U.S - in a tight grip, the classes at MacPherson's New England college have been able to continue in-person due to the relatively small class sizes.
"The rules are rigid here, and everything is safe. I think the tight schedule just helps keep me motivated."
Her efforts seem to be paying off; MacPherson made the Dean's list for the third semester in a row, with a 3.95 GPA out of 4.0, and is now preparing for her mid-May departure back to her birth home of Thorold, once finals are done.
However, she can't stay long, as the 19-year-old is planning to depart for Greece to study under an international partnership that her school administers.
But Thorold will always carry a special place in Gates MacPherson's heart.
"That's where it all started. It's quaint, comfortable. You can't go to the store without seeing a familiar face. I love it!"