by ALEXIS SMITH
My name is Alexis Smith, and I am a junior at Cimarron-Memorial High School. To those close to me, I’m known as Lexy. I love being around family and friends.
I’m the youngest of four children on my mother’s side of the family. I’m not really close to my father or his family. My mom took on the role of mother and father. We are like most people; neither rich nor poor, but getting by making ends meet. Living paycheck to paycheck has taught me that nothing in life is easy, and things can be taken from you at any moment.
I’m a humble person, but if I had to describe myself in two words I would say that I am intelligent and athletic. I’m an honor roll student and pride myself on maintaining good grades. I am very interested in sports: I play volleyball, basketball and run track and field. Being successful in everything I do isn’t an option; it’s an obligation.
Although I am only 16, I’ve been through many obstacles and struggles in my life – but I use that to push forward, never looking back. I believe in making the best of every situation, and turning negative circumstances into positive ones.
For all students, it is important to have people to admire and respect. For African-American students, it is an absolute necessity. Having positive role models is, and can be, very influential in a person’s life. An icon can influence one’s decisions, actions, and inactions without even knowing. An icon can be someone at home or school, in the neighborhood or workplace.
For me, that person is Greg Holloway, my high school basketball coach.
Cimarron-Memorial is a school with a one-star ranking, which may cause outsiders to believe that our students, teachers and administrators reflect that ranking. In reality, this is far from the truth. My coach is one example that makes me believe Cimarron-Memorial deserves five stars.
Walking into each practice full of joy, happy to be alive another day, he encourages me to be the best I can be in life, school and basketball. You might never know that he is a cancer survivor who once came close to death. Like me, he has been through many hardships: growing up in a one-income household, receiving government assistance, and not always having the best of everything.
Though he has been through some hard times, he does not take it out on the world. Instead, he uses his struggles as an example to work even harder to be successful in everything he does.
Before Coach Holloway, I never really had a strong African-American male in my life to look up to. He goes beyond just “coach.” He has stepped up as a father figure for me and my teammates. If we fall off track, he is there to help us pick ourselves back up. He does not allow us to make excuses for our mistakes, because that is no way to go through life. He teaches us that we’re going to make mistakes; it’s human nature. We just have to be able to learn from them. One thing is certain: There is no mistaking Coach Holloway for anything other than an all-around outstanding man.