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Making home, sweet home

By Rhett Lewis


Research suggests that 80% of humans will die within 10 miles of their place of birth.

Apparently, we like things to be comfortable and we resist change.  A new environment can be incredibly stressful and cause unhealthy amounts of anxiety.

Many times a pull factor, something enticing that draws you to a new location, is needed for someone to muster the courage to make a move.

For Kamiya Burwell, Fanny Cavallo, and Monique Tillis, a chance to compete on the basketball court was just the pull they needed.

Burwell, the self proclaimed “hype man of the team,” is a product a Bridgeport, Conn.

After a year at Tallahassee Community College in Florida, Burwell decided she needed a change of scenery and GPC was the beneficiary.

Burwell makes it back home twice a year, during summer break and over Christmas vacation, but says she plans to stay in Georgia once she has finished her college education.

Cavallo, was born in the African country of Mali, where at the age of three she was adopted and moved with her new parents to Lorgues, France.

Cavallo moved to the United States just two years ago to play college basketball.  After a year at the College of Southern Idaho, Cavallo made her way to GPC.

On her move to Atlanta Cavallo said, “It was really stressful for me because I didn’t really know anything about Atlanta or how the team was exactly.”  Cavallo hasn’t had a chance to visit her family and friends in France since last summer and says other than them the thing she misses most is the food.

A native of Los Angeles, Calif., Tillis spent a year at Notre Dame de Namur in California before deciding to transfer to GPC in hopes of finding exposure on the court which could lead to an opportunity to play basketball at a Division I school in the future.

The cross country move, away from her family and friends, and maybe more importantly her car, was a difficult one for Tillis.

“It was just me walking into a new situation, coming in blind,” she said.

A common bond these three women share, aside from their bulging sky miles accounts, is their desire to do well both on and off the court.

When asked if there was anything the team needed to concentrate on the remainder of the regular season and into the postseason, the word focus highlighted all three of their responses.

“Focus as a unit, complete focus. If everyone comes with focus, the same focus, the same goals, knowing what they need to do for each game, we’ll be fine,” Tillis said.

All three women also expressed an interest in continuing their basketball careers at four year universities after their time at GPC.

The trio of sophomores has been a big part of the GPC Jaguars success this season.

As of press time the team sports a 14-7 overall record, which includes a 10-2 mark in conference play.

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