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10News story inspires screenplay about collegiate pole vaulter

Jill MacGregor is writing a movie about the uplifting life of Emma Grace

TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. — The MacGregor family has known the Grace family for years but never have they been connected like this.

“I think there is a huge avenue for God to work through,” said Jill MacGregor, describing the premise of her latest project.

MacGregor has been working for months on Grace Aflight”, a screenplay based on young Emma Grace, an incoming college freshman pole vaulter at High Point University.

It’s a story we first shared in May 2018. The story inspired Jill to expand it into a full-length feature.

“She goes down a path that wasn’t expected through all of that and yet emerges all the more determined and becomes a collegiate pole vaulter. I mean, where does that come from?” she said.

Grace, who has moved with her family to North Carolina since graduating from East Lake High School, will start High Point classes in 36 days. Fifty years ago, her grandfather, Tom, was a member of the HPU track team. He met his wife, Cathy, there, as well.

Credit: 10News Staff
Emma Grace

“I didn’t think you could really make a movie out of me. At the time it was just a back injury,” Grace said during a phone interview Thursday morning.

Grace broke her back as a middle school student. There was concern she wouldn’t walk again. She decided to give pole vaulting a try after fully healing.

She nearly won a state championship.

It’s a true story of resiliency MacGregor feels will resonate with movie-goers.

“She can be that type of role model, not only in her athletics,” said MacGregor. “She worked hard. It didn’t just come to her.”

Grace is excited to have earned a scholarship. Her coach told her on a recruiting visit that he had seen the On The Road story from May 2018.

“He did his homework,” she said with a chuckle.

Hers is an uplifting story that is still rising.

“I am definitely a little bit scared but I am expecting the best,” Grace said about the story becoming a screenplay. “I know whatever Jill makes is going to be amazing and it’s not going to be anything I’m going to be embarrassed about.”

The screenplay should be completed by August. MacGregor plans to pitch it to companies like Pure Flix because of the Grace family’s strong faith.

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