photo: fred lopez
BEST DAY OF MY LIFE: The acceptance into The Citadel was a crowning moment, and the start of a new chapter for me. It meant things were going my way, and all my hard work paid off.
MY IMMEDIATE THOUGHT: I was just surprised and speechless. Going to The Citadel, and being an out-of-state student, it would cost me at least $52,000 in my freshman year. Getting a scholarship of that huge amount is really something I am truly grateful for.
MY GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT: On my father’s side of the family, I will be the first Smith to go from high school right into college. My great-grandfather, who served in World War II, only had a sixth-grade education. My father didn’t receive his bachelor’s degree until his early 40s.
MILITARY ROOTS: I have relatives who served as far back as the Civil War. And in 2013, my dad finished serving 30 years in the Air Force. At his retirement ceremony, I saw the level of respect people had for him, and how they looked to him for knowledge.
BIGGEST INFLUENCES: My mom and dad (Shannon Smith and Jerry Smith) and their guidance in teaching me how to respect others. The next person would be my (maternal) grandfather, Charlie Baker. He actually went to The Citadel, graduating in 1955, and when we went up there for his 50-year anniversary, I saw the level of patriotism within the college, and that was something I really enjoyed.
A SPECIAL MOMENT: As soon as my grandfather learned I was going to his all-time favorite college and continuing the family legacy, he had the biggest grin.
IF I COULD TRADE PLACES WITH SOMEONE FOR A DAY: I would trade my place with Gen. George Patton. He was a brilliant man in understanding the military, winning battles, being able to communicate and get the task done. Without his level of ingenuity and determination, it would have been a much different war to win in his time period of World War II.
MY GOALS: To gain The Citadel experience, graduate with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, and be commissioned in the Army as a second lieutenant. Right now I am deciding between my MOS (military occupational status) either as an infantry officer or a military police officer. Later down the line I would like to apply for the Green Beret of the Special Forces.
ONE THING I WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE: People’s view of the world. Unfortunately, in today’s society, people are a little closed-minded on some things. I always find it fascinating to learn as much as I possibly can about different cultures and the way they act. If someone is doing something a little bit differently, I don’t judge them harshly.
MY HERO: U.S. Air Force Retired Maj. Christopher Honeycutt. He was the one who told me I had the capability, ability, and the SAT scores to apply for the scholarship, and that I should at least give it a try.
MY ADVICE TO YOUNGER STUDENTS: Don’t ever think something is impossible. I thought it was impossible to receive this scholarship to go to The Citadel, but it’s better to take that risk and see where it takes you than to live with regret in the years to come.