Hometown: New Orleans, La.
Three days into Clint Smith's senior year of high school, Hurricane Katrina forced Smith's family to evacuate their New Orleans home. A few days later, "We were watching CNN, and it was the most surreal experience I've ever had, seeing the places I would pass every day under 10 feet of water."
The Silver Lining
Smith was watching this footage from his family's Houston home when a Davidson soccer coach called offering a distraction-a visit to Davidson. "A couple days later I flew up. I committed on the spot. I knew this was where I had to be."
Beyond the Field
"Davidson allows student athletes in particular to see the world, to find themselves beyond the field. I was able to go abroad. I could work for the Davidsonian. I could join Alpha Phi Alpha. I founded FreeWord, Davidson's only spoken-word poetry group. I've been able to do all of these things that have shaped who I am now."
Semester in Senegal
A semester in Senegal was formative. "It was definitely the most powerful experience of my life as far as making me more appreciative of what I have. I left this village where I slept in a tiny mud hut with no plumbing or electricity, and now I see that I don't really need anything. All I need is my family and a place to sleep, and I'll be fine. But at the same time, I realized that I've been so blessed with so many opportunities that if I don't take full advantage, then I'm doing an injustice. It definitely stopped me from getting senioritis!"
A Novel Idea
The English major wrote a young-adult novel for an independent study. "I wrote about being a smart black kid in a world that saw those two things as a paradox-how a lot of black kids have to compromise their identity, to dumb themselves down. There just aren't a lot of books geared toward young black boys-few stories are relevant to things that they're experiencing in their lives, and that's why they don't read. This is my attempt to make something accessible, but intelligent for them."