J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate is full to the brim with extraordinary students with many different passions. The staff at Eye on the Storm has decided that these students deserve to be recognized for their hard work and talent. Explore the lives of 10 exceptional students that are profiled here as part of our series: Trending Ten. Get ready to be inspired!
Author’s note: Keon Smith is a grade 11 student who shows outstanding leadership skills and excels in his sport, volleyball. He is an assistant coach for the Junior and Senior Girls Volleyball teams at Richardson and serves as Richardson’s volleyball ambassador every year as an athlete. Smith and his 17U Durham Attack “Fierce” team also recently won gold in provincials at the OVA Provincial Championships held this year in Kitchener-Waterloo. He is an amazing role model for aspiring athletes and students overall, with his determination and his love for volleyball.
Tell me about yourself and what you do
I’m Keon Smith, I’m 16 and I play volleyball for Durham Attack Volleyball Club and also JCR.
Where do you see yourself in three years?
So in the next few years, I definitely want to pursue volleyball and play in university and stuff, hopefully in the US. Hopefully, but yeah definitely post-secondary volleyball!
What advice do you have for students that want to make a change?
Yeah, so I like to help out with coaching the other volleyball teams because it’s just like, I have this knowledge, let me give it to other people who you know, want to play volleyball.
But my best advice for a student who’d like to make a change is you know, just go for it! Making a change is kind of like, it’s well yeah, I guess it’s kind of a big deal but even if you are nervous or you know, have your doubts or something, you go for it. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you tried.
What keeps you motivated to follow your passions?
I think the thing that really keeps me motivated is my love for this sport. Like, to be honest, I don’t think there’s anything else that I’d rather do but play volleyball for the rest of my life so, that’s a pretty big motivation for me at least, to keep going.
What quote do you live by?
I don’t know if this is a quote but it’s from a song and it’s like: “At first if you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again.”
I think it’s an Aaliyah song, I don’t know, but yeah. So, my thing with the quote is, you’re going to fail at life, but what really separates you from the other people is that you get up and you train harder, or you do whatever or work harder to achieve your goal. You just try again, and again, and again, and work harder each time.
What is a challenge that you have had to overcome?
A specific challenge, honestly… So, there was a point in the school year that you know, I was feeling super-overwhelmed and stressed out about everything, all the time, to the point where I like, just did not want to get out of bed anymore. But, really, you know, finding the motivation and strength to get out and do things – go to school obviously, and go to practice – it was hard. But I did it in the end, right? Just, feeling super-overwhelmed and stressed out about everything, and people who find the strength and the motivation to just get up and do regardless of what they’re feeling? I just admire them a lot.
Silly question: What do you think is the meaning of life?
Oh, that’s kind of a hard question! So, in my opinion, I feel like the meaning of life is to get bright. You know, that kind of sounds silly. Where I’m coming from is just being selfish, especially in this world, it might get you far but it’s not going to, you’re not going to succeed, right? Especially, when you are looking at the betterment of everyone else. Like, the grand scheme of things would be so much better if people weren’t as selfish as they were. I feel like that’s where most of the world’s problems stem from. It’s just greed and selfishness, so if everyone learned to be giving and caring, I feel like everyone would be in a much better place right now. So yeah, I feel like the meaning of life is to give.
Shoutouts to the Durham Attack Volleyball Team and JCR’s Junior and Senior Volleyball Teams! Wishing you the best of luck in all future games! – The Author