Smith has big plans beyond RHS
Editor’s Note: Franklin’s Future is a regular feature spotlighting a high school senior in Franklin County and what they have planned for life after graduation.
To say that Russellville High School student Cai-Cai Smith has been involved during her four years of high school would be an understatement for this 18-year-old senior who has pretty much done it all.
Smith has served in leadership roles as a two-year captain of the cheerleading squad; a representative for Students Against Destructive Decisions; an officer in Science Club; a member of the school’s student council for four years; a member of the Peer Helper program where she mentors and tutors fellow students; and a member of Franklin County Junior Leadership where she completed many community service projects in the area.
She has also been a member of Christian Students United, National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta, Art Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Future Teachers of America, second alternate on the Homecoming Court, and a four-year member of Show Choir.
“When I entered the ninth grade, I wasn’t sure what all I wanted to participate in so I decided to get involved with a lot of different activities so I could have a well-rounded high school experience,” she said.
“It’s a decision I’m glad I made and one I would encourage others entering high school to make because I was able to find the things that fit my personality the best and it allowed me to meet and make friends with more people than I might have otherwise.”
Smith said those friendships and the relationships she’s developed with her classmates and teachers are some of the best things about attending RHS.
“I really enjoy the atmosphere at Russellville and the fact that the teachers always encourage you to do your best,” she said. “I’m truly going to miss those special teachers who really helped me and took time to care about what I had going on.
“Russellville is still a fairly small school compared to schools in bigger cities so those relationships you develop with teachers and with your friends over all the years of going to school together will be hard to replace once I graduate.”
Being involved in so many activities, it’s not hard to believe that Smith has many memories over the past four years that have stood out to her like being on the Homecoming Court, being on the cheerleading squad and just spending time with her friends.
“The very first week of our senior year was really special because it was like it hit us all of a sudden that this was our last year to make memories with each other,” Smith said. “I won’t forget that feeling or the way that we bonded even more as a class.”
She said she also won’t forget all the time she invested into the school’s show choir and how much fun in has been.
“Show Choir is something that I truly love and am passionate about,” she said. “It’s a place where you can dance and sing and totally be yourself because everyone else is doing the same thing.
“There are so many different people in Show Choir but we can all come together over a common interest and just have a really great time. It’s probably one of my favorite things I’ve done during high school.”
Being so connected to her classmates, teachers and organizations, graduating in May and leaving it all behind will be hard, but Smith said she’s also excited about what the future holds.
“I’m looking forward to just a change of pace and to branching out and meeting new people,” she said. “I’m also looking forward to just starting this next chapter of my life and seeing where it takes me.”
Smith said she plans to attend Northwest-Shoals Community College for the first two years to get her basic classes out of the way and then transfer to a four-year college.
“I think Northwest would be a good fit for me at first because I can get my feet wet when it comes to college and sort of ease into,” she said. “I’ll get a feel for everything before I completely dive in.”
After her time at NW-SCC, Smith said her plans right now include transferring to Auburn University to attend pharmacy school.
“I’ve thought about being a teacher and I’ve thought about doing sonograms, but I think right now I’ve settled on pharmacy,” she said.
“I have two pharmacists in the family and I was in eighth grade when they were really getting into it so I heard a lot about it from them. It seems like something good for me because I could interact with people, which I enjoy, and I would have the chance to help people and make them feel better.”
Once she graduates, Smith said she could see herself living and working somewhere in Tennessee or in a bigger city like Huntsville.
“I’ve already done the small-town thing where everyone knows everyone so I think it would be nice to go somewhere that you don’t know everyone and have the chance to meet new people and get to know them,” she said.
“Plus, I’ll have more job opportunities in a bigger city than I would in a smaller town.”
Smith has big plans for her future but until she takes that next step, she said she would enjoy the time she has left in high school and the time she has to do things she loves like singing, cheering, reading, being with family and friends, and spending time with her youth group at Calvary Baptist Church.
“My youth group is very special to me because they help me stay grounded and stay accountable in my faith in God,” she said.
“I love being around them and I love participating in activities at my church, like the children’s DNOW that we have where we bring in a band to lead us in worship and then we break up into groups and go to people’s houses to have Bible study and discussions.
“My church and my youth group are a big part of my life, so any time I’m not doing something school-related, I’m usually doing something there.”
Smith is the daughter of Mike and Stephanie Mayfield and Tim and Debbie Smith. She has two siblings, her twin brother, Hunter, and her younger sister, Anna. She is the granddaughter of Johnny and Patricia Smith, Linda Madden and the late Billy Madden, Mae Mayfield and Fleeta Scott.