After starting high school, Coral Gables High senior Kaitlyn Smith tutored children three times a week at an after-school care program. She tutored for a couple of years.
“The kids were elementary school aged,” she said. “They were 6 years old to 11 years old. A lot of them had issues with reading and that’s my favorite subject. I helped them with comprehension. They went on to higher levels of competency.”
Smith called on her mother’s expertise as a reading coach for help. Armed with the materials her mom gave her, she would pretest the children to assess their reading levels and discover their trouble areas.
She helped them understand the passages by asking questions like: “What was the main idea?”
“I’d help them look at root words,” she said. “I loved it.”
At Gables, she is co-president of the Future Business Leaders of America.
“We have about 300 members; it’s one of the largest clubs at the school,” she said. “We help out students with their professional skills and business skills.”
FBLA members also compete in district and state contests. Her sophomore year, Smith competed in the Introduction to Business category.
“I got first place in the district,” she said.
Last year, she helped others prepare for competition so she didn’t have time to compete. This year her category is Business Financial Plans.
Smith also is involved in the National Honor Society and Best Buddies.
For college, she has applied to the University of Georgia, Florida State, UCF and Georgia State University. She plans to major in pre-law and political science.
“I really want to go into politics. I’d like to become a U.S. Senator,” she said. “I see the issues in our current system and I feel like I would be a really good candidate to fix the policies. I would like to be a voice for people who don’t have one in our country.”
Smith’s desire to go into politics was bolstered by the time she spent at Coral Gables City Hall, observing how government works.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld