Shanya Smith, of Calumet City, is using her love of helping others to prepare for a career in social work and special education.
A senior at Luther East High School in Lansing, she plans to attend Concordia University in Michigan or Purdue University Calumet .
“I want to work with people of any age with mental disabilities. I would love to help them in any way that I possibly can,” she said.
The daughter of Mandy Smith and Shawn Dick, Smith maintains a 3.7 grade point average and is a senior representative for student council and a member of National Honor Society.
She is also an accomplished volleyball player, competing since elementary school.
“I like the feeling you get when you have a great play and you end it with a 'kill.' I also enjoy the competitiveness in the sport.
"Most people wouldn’t expect you to do much running or conditioning like basketball or soccer, but we train a lot to gain speed and coordination for our foot work,” she said.
“I’ve tried to keep in mind that it’s not all about winning, but learning and growing as a team, enjoying the sport.”
Smith was recognized recently as Student of the Month by her school after she planned a school lock-in, and recently began efforts to renovate the girls’ bathrooms at the school.
“The bathroom was outdated and needed to be brightened up. I thought it would be a small project that could go a long way that would be appreciated. Along with the help of a few other student volunteers, we’ve accomplished a lot and are almost done,” she said.
“It’s something that I have wanted to do for a while. I personally thought that if you walk in the bathroom in the morning with bright, new colors, it would help brighten your day.”