Local News

May 31, 2013

Students multi-task to graduate

Time management, community involvement key behind students’ success.

FULTON — Zachary Smith spends his day at school completing homework and his evenings attending Stanford University online high school classes. He is taking two math and one physics class online.

Smith, who is a National Merit scholar, gets through it with sleep deprivation, he said, laughing.

“It’s been tough to adjust to the time zone,” Smith said. “Classes are late Monday and Wednesday. I’m usually in class from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.”

In addition to his academics, Smith is involved in cross country and track.

“There’s not much time to socially visit,” Smith said. “I do a lot of homework at school.”  

Caston High School principal, Adam Strasser, said Smith’s time management skills are pretty outstanding.

“He has had to give up the normal social life of a senior,” Strasser said. “I think it’s rare to see that kind of academic drive in a kid. He knows what he wants to do and what it takes to get there and is willing to make it happen.”

Katelyn Miller, in addition to academics and volleyball, spends her time in school and community clubs. Miller is involved in Key Club, Habitat for Humanity, FCCLA, FFA, 4-H and Fulton County Farm Bureau. She is the president of Key Club and FCCLA and the vice president of FFA. She said she stays sane by being organized and having a planner to balance the chaos.

“Caston is a smaller school so I figured I would get involved,” Miller said. “It’s a good way to interact with people.”

Strasser said Miller has given up free time to help other people.

“We talk a lot to our students about giving back to the community,” Strasser said. “She’s a good example of how getting involved can help you. She was awarded several scholarships because of services she did.”

Miller, who has an internship in Pulaski County for nursing this summer, said her advice to others is to get involved because serving others is always more important than the grades one gets.

“Sometimes it’s stressful, but the satisfaction is great,” Miller said. “Helping others is worth it.”

Smith’s advice is “procrastination is bad and if you’re going to commit yourself, make sure you’re invested and self-motivated.”

Smith will be attending University of Chicago and plans to double major in mathematics and physics. Miller will be attending Purdue University for nursing and wants to either be a nurse practitioner or anatomy teacher.

Strasser said Miller and Smith are two very driven young people who are examples of working hard to get what you want.

“They both got in to their first choice college and received scholarships,” Strasser said. “It shows hard work pays off, which is hard to show students sometimes.”

Amie Sites is community news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at or 574-732-5150.

If you go:

WHAT: Caston High School graduation

WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Caston High School, 9815 Ind. 25 in Fulton


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