Dorsey senior shortstop Kyle LaFlora will be taking his talents to Tuskegee University in the fall. LaFlora is receiving a full baseball scholarship to the university. He is currently a team captain of the Dons baseball team, all the while maintaining a 3.8 GPA, as his transcript also includes four AP classes.
The senior liked the environment of the campus immediately.
“It was the first visit I took out there, I just kinda fell in love with the campus and the school,” LaFlora said. “It reminded me of going to school here [Dorsey], just having that family connection and everybody there is working towards the same goal and I just really like the environment there.”
LaFlora is a hard-working student, his passion for physics and astronomy pushed him to be committed to his academics. He also inspired his friends to take their school work seriously as they grew up.
“I’ve always just kind of been about academics first,” he said. “I’ve always taken an interest in the classroom and just pushed my friends to come along with me and follow my path so we can be successful.”
LaFlora was attracted to baseball at three-years-old and played the sport amongst six-year-olds. His father, Kevin, wanted LaFlora to pursue baseball as he got older.
“My father always wanted us to do something different because you don’t see a lot of guys that are Black and playing baseball today,” LaFlora said. “He wanted us to stand out, away from the sports that are over-saturated with that.”
LaFlora’s mother, Georgia Smith-LaFlora, recalled the times of when he would watch baseball games as a toddler.
“Even in preschool, he was hitting the ball over the fence,” Smith-LaFlora said. “He knows all the ins-and-outs of the game, he keeps the stats, he’s just well versed in baseball.”
LaFlora took advantage of the unique variety of classes that Dorsey provided; he took a coding class, which fed his interest in math. In the ninth grade, LaFlora took a robotics class where he was able to use math and physics to build creations. He once designed an educational game.
“I built it towards elementary school students to help them with math and it was a game,” he said. “It was kinda like Flappy Birds except it involved more math.”
Along with playing baseball, LaFlora is the treasurer for the Black Student Union at Dorsey. The organization helps students excel academically. Due to his involvement in different facets at school, he tends to his obligations based on urgency.
“It gets hard at times because some days, you’re gonna have to put in more hours on one or the other,” LaFlora said. “[If] I have a test this week or something like that, I might spend more time academic wise and try to make up sports wise maybe on the weekend when I have free time.”
Kevin stressed to him the importance of his academics.
“It was always something that I’ve told him about, behavior and different things in the classroom to set a different standard, that his work would transfer onto the baseball field,” Kevin said. “The educational side came very easy for him because he’s a gifted kid.”