JEFFERSON, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – A young man from Jefferson High School is making his family and community proud.
Senior Keith Smith runs track and is extra busy on Friday nights playing both on the football team and in the band, from running back on the field to directing the band as a drum major at half-time.
“When I’m on the field, I’m focused on how the game is going to go, how are we going to win? What can I do to help the team? Then when half-time comes I try and think of how can I lead the band to do what we’re supposed to do,” Smith said.
His love of music started in church.
“I was always fascinated at the drums and piano player, and I just built a love for music.”
He’s a youth leader, doing motivational speaking and mentoring younger kids.
“How can I make myself better to better the youth of our generation?”
He says Pastor Desmond Williams inspires him.
“Inspired to be not just a young man in church, but a young man in general.”
Keith keeps his grades strong, too, making all A’s and becoming a National Merit Scholar.
“The staff members have helped me every step of the way. I thank my teachers for it because if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would have gotten that merit scholarship.”
He just won in the DECA competition too. The business competition will take his team to Houston in February. He said he’s puts his academics before sports but it was not always that way.
“I thought I would go to the NFL or run in the Olympics. I never really thought about my grades. But the more I went to school and got older I realized maybe I could go somewhere with my academics.”
He will be the first in his family to go to college.
“It’s the biggest honor because I know my family is very proud of me for getting this far because they always said every since I was in elementary school that I could somewhere with academics.”
Keith said his family keeps him motivated. He is very close to both his grandmothers. He lost his dad when he was nine and helps raise his two younger brothers and sister.
“In a way I know they say they look up to me. But I kind of look up to them,” Smith said.
He said his mom is his drive.
“She is a single mother. But, oh my goodness, she is there when we need her the most.”
He credits his uncle for being there for always being there for him.
“He has been my father figure ever since I lost my father when I was nine. With him around, I feel like I have a father still, somebody I can look up to.”
Keith is planning on attending college for chemical engineering. He’s still deciding on what college to attend, but received a full-tuition scholarship for academics at the University of Oklahoma.