Senior Zachary (Zack) Smith has been honored as the first “Student of the Block” for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Smith, a professional writing and journalism major from Granville, Ohio, was recognized in a ceremony October 7 as the “Student of the Block” for the first block of the new academic year. The award is presented each block by the Office of Student Affairs to recognize students for academic achievement, leadership on campus and contributions to the college community.
An active student on campus, Zack has participated in theatre productions, the Tusculum College Community Chorus, Sigma Tau Delta English Honors Society, as well as served as editor in chief of the Pioneer Frontier campus newspaper. He also enjoys playing lacrosse, and his love of service began in high school when one of his projects was establishing a middle school lacrosse program.
While he values his co-curricular experience, Zack upholds his responsibility as an academically sound student. Boasting a 3.67 GPA in his courses, Zack truly enjoys his academic career and values the lessons it has taught him. “I am proud to have never missed the Dean’s List here at Tusculum College” he said. “It is easy to overlook a course or take a mental break from time to time. Although I encountered many challenging courses at Tusculum College, I consistently strive to do my best work without exception.”
Some of his favorite courses have been his business courses (especially international business and management), literature and copy editing. Among his favorite professors are Dr. Tom McFarland, associate professor of business administration; Dr. Antonio Bos, professor of business administration; Dr. Desirae Matherly, assistant professor of English, and Wayne Thomas, assistant professor of English. Smith said that each brings a unique experience to the classroom. ”Dr. McFarland demonstrated such a high level of professionalism. Dr. Bos brought humor to difficult situations. Dr. Thomas is my advisor and was the first professor I had in class at Tusculum College - he sets the bar high. And Dr. Matherly brought a new perspective to the department, is a dedicated editor [advisor] for the newspaper and always has her door open.”
The son of Sharon Smith and Bruce Smith, Zack is an intuitive, intelligent and hard working individual with a deep love of Tusculum College. “I chose Tusculum because of the block system and because I was excited to come to Tennessee,” said Zack. The youngest brother of Doug and Brian, Zack is a natural mentor to others because of the leadership his siblings provided for him during his youth. “He has proven himself to be a creative and patient mentor with a sharp sense for needed changes and the confidence to effect those changes when required,” said Dr. Matherly of Zack’s leadership capabilities as the Pioneer Frontier editor-in-chief.
Mentorship is very important to Zack and helped to shape the individual he is today. “My brothers have been father figures to me because they are older and lived life… my uncle Bill Mason is a superintendent and influenced my decision to become a teacher… and Michael Caravana (head coach of the Denison University LaCrosse team) taught me organizational skills and to work hard all of the time” he said.
Zack’s dedication to his studies and being a civic-minded community member is often thankless but he finds it very rewarding. Zack serves as a coach, promotional director and counselor for the Lacrosse Academy, and a volunteer at the front desk of the Community Ministries Food Bank in Greeneville. He also serves as president of the Tusculum College Alpha Chi chapter. Zack was rewarded for his dedication to the Pioneer Frontier as the English department’s 2009 Journalist of the Year. Wayne Thomas describes him as “the epitome of what a Tusculum student should be… he’s going to make a fantastic teacher.”
Reflecting on his personal experience at college, Zack offers the following advice to his fellow students “the years of my life passed very fast - don’t waste your time sitting in your room…go out and build some memories.”
Realizing students often view college as a time in which to be a young adult with no responsibilities, Zack challenges Tusculum students to ” focus on career building because you can’t expect advisors to come to you, you need to make decisions….during your entire college career, you should be thinking of what you want to do when you leave.”
He also provides the four following points to become academically successful: follow your syllabus for each class and put aside what you want to do in the moment for fun for long-term results academically; make your voice heard though participation in campus events and groups; don’t lose sight of your goals, and stay on track.
With his time on the campus drawing to a close (Zack graduates in December 2010), he fondly recalls memories of great times on the campus. “Spring Fling is always a good time, attending football and baseball games, Saturday night trips to The Valley, spending time studying in the Library - I’ve put in a lot of hours digging through research material and information for different projects,” he said.
“I will miss the schedule - once I leave the quality of my life will probably go down… I tell my summer lacrosse camp students that they should definitely go to college because it’s a big sleepover with all of your friends and its completely your own schedule- with no parents!”
The College will lose a great member of the student body when Zack receives his degree and continues on to graduate school to obtain his master of arts in education but will gain an insightful and dedicated alumnus. “During my time at Tusculum College, the school and its faculty have taught me many important things outside of my academic endeavors.” he said. “I have learned to cherish the knowledge I’ve gained and to appreciate the uniqueness of my opportunities. I have further embraced the spirit of my own civic duties and the positive impact my actions can have on the lives of others. Thank you to the people at Tusculum College who work behind the scenes - the people who do all the work that has to be done to run the college.”