DeVivi, Fox grow into citizen leaders

Published 3:17 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2024

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Kayley DeVivi and Lauren Fox have been mainstays for Longwood softball throughout the season. The seniors have patrolled the outfield and been key pieces in the Lancer lineup over the past few seasons. 

Yet their success extends beyond the field, and it comes thanks to plenty of hard work. Four years’ worth, in fact. 

Last week, the duo earned the Joan of Arc Award for Excellence from Longwood University. The award is given to individuals for their leadership, their service and their work in the classroom. 

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“I was very excited,” said Fox. “Being at Longwood, you hear about Joanie on the Stoney and Joanie on the Pony, and having something in remembrance of her is very rewarding. It was great to be recognized for all the hard work that we have done on campus and throughout school.” 

“I was very excited and felt privileged to be nominated and to earn that award,” DeVivi said. 

In addition to being part of a core group of leaders on the diamond for softball, the two are also involved in a variety of other places on campus. 

“They are extraordinary women,” said Longwood head coach Dr. Megan Brown. “They are great leaders on and off the field. It’s fun for them to have the opportunity to show to the bigger campus community what we get to see every day.” 


Both are involved in SAAC, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This year, Fox became the vice president of the organization. Fox has also worked with Morgan’s Message through SAAC to raise both awareness of and importance of mental health for student-athletes. 

DeVivi, who is majoring in communication sciences and disorders, has been a member of NSSHLA, a speaking and hearing club that is associated with the speaking and hearing clinic, for the past three years. She also has served as a team representative for SAAC. 

With the softball team, they are active participants in the various community service opportunities the team takes on, including Longwood Life Day, where the team welcomes members of the Longwood Life community out to Lancer Field for a softball clinic. 

The journey started in the midst of COVID-19. The two came to Longwood as freshmen in the fall of 2020 when the world was still in shock and piecing together how to recover and rebuild from the pandemic that rocked the globe. 

“I’ve grown a lot,” DeVivi said when recalling her time at Longwood. “I had a very, very hard freshman year that I brought upon myself. So I think watching myself from the outside now, back to when I was a freshman, is unbelievable. Learning how to live alone by myself without my parents was a big thing for me in helping me grow up.” 

“When I first came in as a freshman, I thought I was such a small part of Longwood and only one out of 5,000 people, and I was such a small part,” Fox said. “I didn’t realize what I could do while I was at Longwood besides being a softball player, do my best in school. I thought that was it.” 


In their first semester, they came to Longwood but their freshman experience was filled with remote learning, a handful of in-person classes, and limited, at best, social opportunities. 

Masks were a part of every day life. No one could dine out. Attendance at events was either zero or limited to one or two people per player. 

“Freshman year, everything was very intimidating with school and softball,” Fox said. “The need to be perfect. The need that you need to succeed on the field to even get playing time as a freshman, you need to work through your Civitae classes and be great at them — that was a lot of pressure. We weren’t secure in ourselves enough.” 

Even so, they bonded as friends over Domino’s pizza and the show “Big Time Rush,” and they started to become secure in themselves. 

Now, the journey is nearly complete at Longwood, but the leadership lessons will remain and carry forward with them after they graduate. 

“Truly, I’ve grown up a ton, and I feel like, especially at the end, I know that I can make a difference even if I’m just one person,” Fox said. “Or I could inspire people to do the same thing or make a difference here at Longwood.” 

“I never would have thought that I would be here,” DeVivi said of her growth. “And each year, I’m getting a little more comfortable within myself and with my voice. I’m feeling comfortable talking, feeling comfortable sharing my feelings, my emotions. It’s really cool to see.” 


The Lancer softball team opens play in the Big South tournament this week as the No. 2 seed. The first day of the tournament will be on Thursday, May 9, and all games will air on ESPN+. All Longwood games will also be on the radio on WVHL 92.9 Kickin’ Country.