Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hard work pays off for valedictorian Kelly Marie Smith

McGavock High valedictorian Kelly Marie Smith is graduating from a class of about 630. She plays the piccolo and flute and will study graphic design at Western Kentucky University, beginning in the fall semester.

By ANDY HUMBLES • Staff Writer (Tennessean)• May 14, 2008

McGavock valedictorian Kelly Marie Smith is described by one of her teachers as a renaissance woman.
"She draws well, writes well, understands literature, she's in band, funny, just an all-around well-rounded kid,'' said Stacey Hinchman, an English literature and composition teacher at McGavock.

All that and a 3.976 grade-point average, too.

All valedictorian-type attributes, but there is a striking normalcy to Kelly.

"Loves video games,'' said her mom, Nancy Smith, telling how Kelly is motivated to get done with homework and other activities to have some time with the PlayStation II in the evening. "People think she just comes home and studies. She does have to study, but she always did most of her homework and came home to play video games.''

Kelly's valedictorian speech on May 18 as McGavock graduates about 630 students "won't be anything too deep,'' she said. After all, being valedictorian "just happened,'' she said. "Just doing my thing.''

But Kelly's thing includes quite a bit of drive.
Her mom said Kelly's time management skills are advanced for a high school student.
Kelly says she has old-fashioned effort, and that comes out when she gives her view on public schools and her education at McGavock.

"I think public education is awesome,'' she said. "Some countries don't even have education. Whatever you do you might as well try your hardest. It seems sometimes people don't try their best because it's hard.''

Kelly could have gone to Metro academic magnet Hume-Fogg, and that was the vote of parents Nancy and Marcus Smith. But she wanted to participate in the McGavock marching band, which has a high reputation in the state and beyond. Kelly plays the piccolo and flute.
But McGavock hadn't always had the reputation as a safe campus, something principal Michael Tribue has worked to turn around since arriving there in 2001.

"I'm satisfied with my learning experience at McGavock,'' Kelly said. "Some don't get that, but some don't want it. I've been exposed to a lot of useful experiences here, it's very diverse — there are tons of different people at McGavock. It's improved with Mr. Tribue here and the fighting has stopped.''

Art is Kelly's passion, and she'll study graphic design at Western Kentucky University beginning in the fall semester. Kelly will get academic scholarship money that will help considerably with college, a reason she worked to get good grades in order to help her family with the cost.

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