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Terrific Teens … Spotlight on Katie Smith

Katie Smith is a 2015 Kingswood Oxford graduate, and one of the 2015 'Terrific Teens.' Photo by Todd Fairchild

As seen in the annual ‘Terrific Teens’ issue of West Hartford Magazine, 2015. Katie Smith is a 2015 graduate of Kingswood Oxford School.

By Katie Cavanaugh. Photos by Todd Fairchild/ShutterbugCT.com

Katie Smith is a 2015 Kingswood Oxford graduate, and one of the 2015 'Terrific Teens.' Photo by Todd Fairchild

Katie Smith is a 2015 Kingswood Oxford graduate, and one of the 2015 ‘Terrific Teens.’ Photo by Todd Fairchild

For our fifth annual spotlight on recent West Hartford high school graduates, we were once again challenged because the pool of “Terrific Teen” candidates is virtually never-ending. We discovered teens with talents, tastes for travel, and thirsts for new challenges – both big and small. Every young person has an interesting story, and what resulted are eight stories about eight great role models whose aspirations will inspire anyone of any age.

For our female Terrific Teen from Kingswood Oxford, Katie Smith, helping others is a main priority. That’s one of the reasons she has decided to take a gap year before going to college.

“I have wanted to take a year off for a while,” said Katie. “It might be a good opportunity to give back to the community before I start focusing on myself.” Katie is currently on the wait list for AmeriCorps NCCC, and hopes to work in the Pacific and Southwest Region.

After her gap year, Katie will attend Johns Hopkins University. “I’m planning on studying biology and maybe law. I might want to major in bioethics,” she said. “I hope to do medical research and incorporate bioethical policy when I grow up.”

While at Kingswood Oxford, Katie was a member of the volleyball, diving, and lacrosse teams. She loved volleyball, but she also enjoyed pushing herself with diving. “Diving has the closest spot in my heart because I was the only diver [on the KO team] for close to four years, so it was the biggest challenge,” said Katie.

Never one to pass up a challenge, Katie took on a number of leadership roles throughout her high school career. She was the class president for both her junior and senior years of high school and was one of three presidents of the debate club. “Speech and debate was kind of my main club,” said Katie. She also participated in Model UN during her junior and senior year of high school.

It was hard for Katie to pick a favorite high school memory, but when she did it was no surprise it had to do with helping younger students at Kingswood Oxford. She was a “Prefix” during her senior year, which meant that she was a mentor to a small group of freshmen. “My favorite memory is when I got to go out to lunch with my six freshmen. It was kind of cool to hear what they like about KO since I had such a great experience there,” she said.

According to Katie, it is her mother’s compassionate nature that turned her into the young woman she is today. “She led by example in how to interact with people and treat them with dignity,” she said.

Katie’s favorite local eating spot is California Pizza Kitchen at Westfarms. “I have 10 favorite things on the menu,” she laughed. However, none of those items includes meat because Katie has been a vegetarian for four years. “’Eating Animals’ kind of spelled out all of the reasons I am a vegetarian today.”

Katie is passionate about her beliefs but also remains open-minded. “I like trying new things even if I may not be the best at them, because taking myself out of my comfort zone helps me find what I’m really good at,” said Katie.

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Joy Taylor

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