By Janeal Downs
With so many interests inside and outside of school, one thing Kendall Smith is passionate about is giving back. “I can instill in others what I’ve been taught, to be selfless and not selfish, ” Kendall said about why she enjoys giving back and volunteering in her community. Not only does she work to stay selfless while she is still in high school, but also in the future as she prepares to go to college and study to become a doctor.
Currently a senior in high school, Kendall volunteers at a variety of places. One of her favorite places is with the Autism Society of Central Virginia. With ASCV, she works closely with the children and assists the organization in hosting activities such as Lego builds, ice cream races and bowling. For years, Kendall volunteers with her church, Shalom Baptist Fellowship Church. With the church she has volunteered at nursing homes, fed the homeless and also helped teach and lead vacation Bible Study. She also volunteers as a teacher’s assistant at JEB Stuart Elementary School where she tutors children in math and social studies among other assignments.
Not only does Kendall work hard to stay involved in the community, but she also stays active with school organizations by serving as a member of FBLA, Mu Alpha Theta, Key Club, the softball team and more. One of her favorite extracurricular activities is cheerleading for Thomas Jefferson High School. “Cheerleading has always been an outlet for me,” Kendall stated in an essay. “When I am cheering I no longer feel the weight of my educational responsibilities. Also, cheerleading has contributed to my confidence level.” Not only does she cheer, but dancing with her church’s Inspirational Arts Ministry for six years is also an activity she uses as an outlet. Through dance, she is “able to touch someone else’s life while also being touched.”
With all of these activities, Kendall currently maintains a 4.67 GPA. Her academic strength and passion to give back has encouraged her to pursue higher education and pursue degrees in biology or in the health sciences. Throughout her life, math and science have always been her favorite subjects. Because of this, she has always wanted to be a doctor. After participating in a program with VCU Health Sciences, Kendall was reassured that this was the field she wanted to pursue. “We got to work closely with different medical fields and it just reinsured my passion for medicine and it also incorporates me helping others, which I’m very passionate about,” Kendall said.
Kendall particularly wants to study to become an obstetrician and eventually open her own private practice. Her top college of choice is Howard University in Washington D.C. Howard’s medical program and pleasant atmosphere attracted her to the university. One lesson she will take with her from high school to college is that “even though something may not work the first time, there’s always something better in store.”
As she pursues her goals, Kendall gives a special thanks to her school for offering amazing opportunities. She also thanks her mother, who she named as one of her biggest inspirations. “I see her working hard every day just so my sister and I can have the things that we desire and I see that even though some things may not go her way, she doesn’t let that stop her,” Kendall said. One thing she wants the community to know about her is that she will always give back to those in need and “even when all odds are against me I will still prosper and meet every goal that I set for myself.”