Senior Smith Sees Leadership In Her Future

Madison+Smith

Durant Yearbook

Madison Smith

Marina Hawkins, Staff Writer

Madison Smith has truly left her mark on the Cougar family.

Smith spoke of the memories she has made at Durant, and how her experience at the school have allowed her to have a one-of-a-kind high school experience. One of her favorite memories, she said, is when she received a Diamond Award for her AP research project on sexual misconduct and rape culture in schools. This was a hard subject to tackle her junior year, and it required a lot of motivation from her peers and teachers. Mary Martin and Holley Kimble, Smith’s AP Research and AP Capstone teachers at Durant, helped Smith focus on such a mature topic and kept her motivated to complete the enormous project. Smith said receiving the Diamond Award for this endeavor was especially powerful because she was presented with the honor by Martin and Kimble. Additionally, as testament to Smith’s hard-working and determined character, she did not just submit her project to her teachers-rather, she created a policy plan that she will present to a state representative and to the school board at a later date.

Smith also holds titles as a nationally ranked creed speaker for Future Farmers of America, a finalist for United States Senate Youth Program, and AP Scholar with Distinction, and was additionally featured as a calendar girl her sophomore year. Smith also received an award for her work with Tampa Bay Beautiful. She was awarded this year’s National English Honors Society scholarship. Smith is also in the top ten of her graduating class.

Smith will be attending the University of Central Florida this fall, and will be majoring in both Political Science and Public Administration with a minor in Women’s and Gender studies. She hopes to maintain a Pre-Law degree track and attend graduate school to become a lawyer.

“Sometimes you make more of a difference behind the scenes.””

— Madison Smith

One of Smith’s favorite quotes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg that she takes to heart is “Fight for the things you care about but do so in a way that will lead others to join you.” This has made Smith have such confidence in her abilities.

When talking to Madison many of her peers have made the comment of her being president someday and that could be so. She mentioned that many times when dealing with politics from talking to senators and presenting her own bills, to holding town halls and working on campaigns, that mid-conversation she has had the thought of “I could literally do a better job than them”. Which has empowered her to try and do so and helped her realize that “sometimes you make more of a difference behind the scenes” which will help her find where she needs to be.

When looking back on her years as a Durant Cougar there are a lot of people to thank. Being extremely thankful towards her teachers who have given her the knowledge she needs to succeed and her parents who have provided for her and of course her friends who have supported her, she has received many blessings that have helped her to senior year. Another person she really thanks is her boyfriend Caleb Stenger, who every time she doubted herself he would act as if it was so foreign and unacceptable that she was unable to accomplish something that enforced her to believe the same which pushed her to her goals. When she was nervous about something, he would act like it was crazy because of the kind of person she was, which helped her realize how capable she is. Most important she shared that he always brought her down to earth and showed her that there can be so much more outside of just school in order to have her achieve in areas other than being a student.

For her following peers at Durant she reminds them to remember the importance of being humble and staying kind. She shares that there will always be someone smarter no matter how hard you push yourself so don’t focus on the competition of things but be proud of your accomplishments you have received.