Roots, family fuel Bear Creek teen’s drive to succeed

Posted 6/26/20

BEAR CREEK — Kelsey Hussey’s drive to achieve is impressive.

Just 14 years old, Hussey plays three sports, served as the president of the Beta Club at Bennett Elementary School, has gotten …

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Roots, family fuel Bear Creek teen’s drive to succeed

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BEAR CREEK — Kelsey Hussey’s drive to achieve is impressive.

Just 14 years old, Hussey plays three sports, served as the president of the Beta Club at Bennett School, has gotten straight A’s her entire academic career thus far and has never missed a day of school — even after she suffered a season-ending injury while playing basketball.

Hussey has lived in Bear Creek her entire life with her mother, Susan, who works for the Chatham County Schools as an accountability specialist; her father, Travis, who works at Belk Building Supply in Siler City; her dog, Peanut; and her three-legged cat, Oreo.

Kelsey said her family, starting at a very young age, was a main source of her drive.

“They always pushed me, especially when I was younger to go to school and supported me in whatever I did,” she said. “They have been a huge help to me to succeed as far as I have.”

Kelsey is a third-generation student of Bennett School, which actually serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade. She admitted she’s always been a “fan of everything” in school and her teachers “always pushed me to do my best” which “made an impact.” She said the school has “this family feeling” because it’s small and “everybody knows everybody.”

“That’s one of the things I really loved about Bennett School,” Kelsey said.

In her early years of school, she said she never really thought much about achieving perfect attendance. She was just “blessed” with good health and a generous dose of “self-motivation,” saying her parents started her off well.

“I guess it’s just who I am,” she said. “I’ve always thought I’m supposed to go to school and do my best.”

Kelsey said she “kept pushing” herself and school “became a routine.” And she credits attendance as to why she has always gotten straight A’s.

“What you learn everyday, how important it is to go to school,” she said. “Yeah, I guess you can always make up work, but it’s different being there. Everyone has their days. They get up tired and don’t want to go. Or maybe there are projects you don’t want to do. But I just kept pushing myself.”

This school year, her last at Bennett School, the notion of achieving perfect attendance became more significant and one bad step nearly ended it. Kelsey was playing a basketball game on a Thursday night at her school. While going in for a layup, she rolled her ankle. At first, she thought it was just a sprain and stayed on the sidelines until the game was over. After, her family took her to the hospital where they learned she had broken her ankle. The doctor told her that she could stay home for a few days and likely return to school the following week.

“But I was this close to never missing a day,” Kelsey said. “I never thought about it when I was younger, but as I was getting closer to graduation it became a major goal for me. So I went to school that Friday. It was tough, but it was worth it. My friends and my teachers all helped me so much.”

Even in quarantine, her drive remains. She has been continuing her workouts so she can be ready for the next sports season. She has also created a garden at her home with her father which includes a array of flowers and vegetables. And she enjoys baking, but not to eat the treats. Instead, she gives them away to her friends and neighbors.

Even with the accomplishments she’s already achieved, Kelsey is nervous about moving to the next stage as a rising freshman at Chatham Central High School. In the Bennett School, her friends and classmates had been with her since kindergarten, in every class. In high school, that dynamic changes as students move from class to class with different kids. She’s nervous about trying out for sports — basketball, volleyball and softball. And she’s concerned that the work may be a lot harder, putting her record of straight A’s at risk. But she’s still pushing.

“I’m just going to do my best to keep doing what I’m doing,” Kelsey said.

She “wants to be a role model,” especially for her younger cousins who are still attending the Bennett School. She wants to help them understand how important it is to go to school and get good grades on their report cards. To that end, Kelsey also wants to be a elementary school teacher. She’s hoping she can get an athletic or academic scholarship and attend N.C. State University.

“I’m just making sure I stay on track, keeping myself motivated, doing my best and not lose track of what my goals are,” she said. “I guess my best piece of advice would be, even when things are hard, just keep pushing. I can tell things will pay off.”

Casey Mann can be reached at


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