Nathan Is Taking Off To the Air Force Academy


Nathan Gillespie

• School: Lafayette High
• Grade: 12
• Sports: Tennis, football
• Academics: Nathan has a 4.25 weighted GPA, took 3 A.P. classes, scored 27 on the ACT (31 in math) and is an Eagle Scout.
• Parents: Robin & Ernie Ellison

So how did Nathan Gillespie evolve from a ballet dancer and trumpet player at SCAPA to a hard-hitting football player, an all-star tennis player and a cadet-to-be at the Air Force Academy?

It’s an interesting tale about a multi-talented 18-year-old with a thirst for new experiences.

First, ballet. Truth be told, he danced to get accepted into SCAPA in fourth grade. Once there, he performed in numerous shows at school and at the Lexington Opera House, and played a pirate in “Peter Pan.”

By seventh grade, he switched to trumpet. When he hit high school, he chose sports over the arts and joined the football team where he was an All-City kicker as a sophomore and junior.

Knowing his senior year would be his last in football, he stopped kicking and won a starting linebacker job.

In the first game of the season, he sacked the quarterback, scooped up his fumble and rambled downfield before getting tackled.

When an excited teammate pounced on his back, Nathan suffered an elbow injury that ended his football career.

But not his athletic career. As a youth soccer player, he helped the LFC Premier win the U-11 state title, and he played on the Lafayette golf team for two years.

Nathan comes from a tennis family – his parents both play and his sister, Rachel, earned a Division I scholarship.

Nathan always played, starting competition as an 8-year-old. By seventh grade, he made the Lafayette varsity and six years later is graduating as the school’s top male player in the past 20 years.

A four-time captain, Nathan is a five-time All-Region selection and qualified for the State tournament four times.

In singles and doubles, he holds the school records for most victories in a season and career.

He will walk-on in tennis at Air Force.

“I loved football because it builds that brotherhood,” he said. “With tennis, you’re out there alone, so you have to dig deep and find a way to win.”

Sounds like the ideal mindset for the military. He also has the math skills necessary in the modern military.

Nathan carries a 4.25 weighted GPA, took three A.P. classes and scored 27 on the ACT (31 in math).

He also teaches a youth Sunday school class, volunteers as a “buddy” in the Toyota Miracle League for kids with disabilities and is an Eagle Scout.

In the classroom, Nathan said, “I know how to persevere through hard times. I’m good at handling the grind without complaining.”

An ideal trait for a military man.