Southside student earns perfect ACT score


By Sarrah Peters, News Editor

Southside junior Kyler Smith recently received a perfect 36 score on the ACT.

Smith said that the score did not come as a big surprise because he had scored a 35 last time. He is graduating fifth in his class and is applying to University of Alabama-Huntsville and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to pursue a career in electrical or computer engineering.

“I like science and math because I’m good at it,” said Smith. “And it’s fun to explore and the fact that engineering is a bunch of problem-solving which seems like it would be beneficial to people. English and history are a bit harder.”

Smith is also involved in a wide variety of extra curriculars, including playing baritone for the school’s band; the Tech Club, which is currently working on a project to help teach younger children programming for robots; Leo, the junior Lions Club; Quiz Bowl; and Key Club. He also is a peer tutor for the National Honor Society.

“He is very involved and reliable and the students respond well to Kyler helping them,” said Southside High Librarian Cassie Clark, the school’s advisor for the National Honor Society and the Tech Club.

“I just try to show them how I do it,” said Smith of his tutoring. “I also, when I let them work it out, I don’t tell them they are doing it wrong, I just push them in the right direction. When you tell them they are doing something wrong they respond less.”

Clark offered a wider picture of Smith than just his academic successes.

“Kyler is more than just a 36 on the ACT test,” said Clark. I’ve gotten to see a side of him where he helps other classmates as a tutor. He is very giving, a selfless person that wants to help others to succeed. He kind-of pushes them to do better.”

Clark said that Smith has also been involved in helping to figure out the school’s new 3-D printer and represented the school at a NASA cyber camp in Huntsville, where his team received an award.

“We learned about cyber security and programming these things called Raspberry Pis,” said Smith.

“We knew from him being a freshmen that he was super-smart and very bright and had a lot of potential,” said Southside High Principal Julie Tucker. “And that there were going to be a lot of positive, great things coming from him. We’re just proud for him. It’s a great accomplishment.”

Tucker also bragged about all the Southside students.

“We have some smart kids here at Southside and well-rounded,” said Tucker. We have a lot of great students and we are proud of all of them. But we are excited to recognize Kyler’s accomplishment, for sure.”

“What impresses me about Kyler the most is that he’s willing to help other people,” said Kenny Clevenger, SHS assistant principal and Kyler’s former Sunday school teacher. “He’s not just a student who is all about himself. He gives to our school a lot. And he gives to the elementary school a lot. He’s just a caring person, on top of being a very intelligent person.”

In his free time, Smith enjoys reading and playing video games.

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