TODAY’S ACHIEVERS, TOMORROW’S LEADERS
Polson High School senior receives leadership award
By CAROLYN HIDY
Lake County Leader
Kalispell Regional Healthcare and the Lake County Leader have teamed up to acknowledge the contributions students are making to improve the “health, comfort, and lives of their fellow students and their community.” Davis Smith, a senior at Polson High School, is a sterling example of who they had in mind.
Nominated by his guidance counselor, Betsy Wade, Smith was awarded the first “Today’s Achievers, Tomorrow’s Leaders” award offered by the two organizations.
Wade noted Smith’s “intellectual acuity, strong work ethic,” his “amiable nature, … humility, and respect for others” as she listed the myriad ways he had served his fellow students and community.
“From the personal, one-on-one level, clear up to the level of politics, Smith is a dedicated communicator and problem solver. He enjoys being part of a program linking upper classmen mentors with freshmen, taking the extra time to help others open up socially, as well as get the academic help they need, helping them to “feel welcome in our school,” says Wade.
Successful student council efforts have included “making our school look better,” such as painting a mural in the lunch room. “To be in an environment that looks good, he says, can help motivate students to do well in the classroom as well. “Things like that show that student government actually can get things done. If they want to see change,” says this now Student Body President, “they can bring it up, and actually have faith that they’ll see it happen.”
Not everything is successful, though, and Smith is willing to learn from experience. He had campaigned for student council to take on some recommended changes to the bell schedule. Student council worked with a supportive administration to open up a free period to help students focus on classes they might be struggling in.
Unfortunately, many took advantage of it by just extending their lunch period.
“When you actually try to implement something, not everything works out, but it’s definitely worth trying,” he says.
Smith is carrying his belief in effective government forward. He helped campaign for a friend running for county commissioner. Though his candidate lost, his interest was piqued, so he did an internship with the commission. One of the fruits of his work with them is currently available as the “Newcomers Starter Pack” on the lakecounty. gov commissioners page.
It includes such helpful tips on rural living as “Electricity is not available to all parts of Lake County,” and “If accessto your property runs
over someone else’s property, problems can arise. It is important to check to see if easements may be necessary for access to your property.” Smith is keenly aware of the difference between politics and good governing, and hopes to be able to contribute an ethical, well-educated voice as a candidate for office in the future. He intends to obtain a classical education and then likely attend law school. Smith is not only a 4.0 student having taken every AP class available. He enjoys winter intramural basketball, plays varsity soccer, and takes full advantage of the weekend ski bus the school offers to Big Mountain every year.
He is active in Speech and Debate Team and Symphonic Band, coached youth soccer, and volunteered with the summer migrant education project.
Smith recognizes he has been the beneficiary of a lot of others’ help.
“A lot of the things I have done relate back to Polson High School having really excellent teachers and counselors,” he says. “I mean it when I say I have not had one bad teacher. They have all really cared about me and other students.
They care about educating us, and outside the classroom, too. Even staffand administration – you can tell they genuinely care about students and are excited to help them.
That’s the most beneficial part of having grown up here – the people in the school system have been amazing.”
The award includes a $250 donation which Smith gets to choose an organization to receive.
He has chosen the Board of Governors (student council), to enhance their contributions to the school environment.