When Amari Troutt decides she wants to do something she does it, no matter what the issues are that come her way.
Like when she was in seventh grade, struggling at a new school and decided she needed a change. Troutt applied to the PRIDE Schools system without telling her family.
“I told my family once we got the call that I got accepted,” Troutt said.
The move was a success for Troutt, who enjoyed the student-led approach to high school.
Now, four years later, Troutt is graduating from Innovation High School and headed across town to Gonzaga University on a full-ride scholarship as an Act Six scholar.
Troutt had planned to attend a Historically Black College in North Carolina but was surprised when after a rigorous three-months-long application process she was selected to the Act Six scholar program, that focuses on leadership during scholar’s collegiate career.
“There were so many, like, qualified kids, and I didn’t think I was going to get it,” Troutt said. “It took me a long time to finally realize that I was going to Gonzaga.”
Troutt’s grandparents, whom she calls the “backbone” of the family, have strong ties to Gonzaga with her grandfather, James Troutt, working for the dean of admissions after his retirement from the military and her grandmother, Peggy Troutt, an alum.
The scholarship made Troutt’s dreams of double majoring in sports management and kinesiology a reality.
Since watching Thunderstruck, a 2012 basketball film starring Kevin Durant, Troutt has wanted to become an athletic trainer.
“My plan is to go into the NBA and potentially either be a manager or an athletic trainer,” Troutt said.
To gain more experience, Troutt contacted the president of the Lilac City Legends, Michael Bethely, and asked him to mentor her. Blethely was so impressed he offered her an internship.
One day, Troutt hopes to build an athletic facility that’s affordable and offers kids access to physical therapy and athletic training.
“My goal is to go into there and hopefully make sure kids, especially at the high school level, have access, and it’s all affordable,” Troutt said.
Troutt’s inspiration for the facility is her athletic younger brother, Malachi Troutt, who didn’t have many resources when it came to athletics.
“We’re two years apart in age and one year apart in school,” Troutt said. “He’s like my best friend.”
Even in school, Troutt has found support for her athletic trainer dreams in health and fitness teacher Dario Romero. Romero, who played football for the Miami Dolphins, said, he immediately hit it off with Troutt and saw her confidence right away.
“What I most admire about her is that she is courageous enough to not follow the crowd. She has this confidence and a very mature perspective of the world,” Romero said. “She has always had those leadership qualities but just needed a little bit of a push.”
Over the last few years, Romero said he has worked with Troutt to give her an “understanding of how to attain a goal and fight through adversity.”
Troutt agreed that one of the biggest things she learned during her time at Innovation High was to “navigate independently.”
“The sky is the limit for her,” Romero said.
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