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Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Jess Smith

Marple Newtown Patch highlights Jess Smith, one of Marple Newtown High School's student speakers for 2012's commencement.

Each week, Marple Newtown Patch will seek suggestions from readers for individual kids, youth groups, teens, and even sports teams that wow us with their accomplishments. This week, we highlight recently graduated Marple Newtown High School senior Jessica Smith, who was chosen as one of the students to address the .

Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Jess Smith

Whiz Kid's Age: 18

Whiz Kid's School:

Whiz Kid's Accomplishment: From their student body class of 287, Jess, as she likes to be called, was chosen, along with peer Joseph Howanski, to speak at Marple Newtown's 97th commencement.

Whiz Kid's Key to Awesomeness: Though she hardly expected to be chosen as one of the student speakers for graduation this year, considering "it seemed like everyone was going for it," Jess says she was "excited" when she heard the news because she "really wasn't expecting it."

And, although she wasn't emotional about school ending, Jess admits the moment she walked off the stage toward her friends in robes and "high-fiving" people, that was the moment when she truly felt happy. And scared and then nervous.

"I just can't believe I did four years of high school," says Jess. "Before, I was really focused on my speech so I didn't mess up or trip but when I gave my speech during graduation practice and seeing all my friends walking in with their robes on, I got really choked up."

Jess transferred to Marple Newtown after her middle school years in Upper Darby. She recalls her sophomore year, particularly English class, as one of the best years of her high school career because that's "when I met some of my best friends–they're my core best friends."

From there, Jess joined all of the high school productions from plays to musicals and met more friends including her boyfriend.

"I think the Marple Newtown Drama Department is like a family. It will definitely be the highlight of my high school experience," shares Jess.

But she won't be majoring in theater come fall. Instead, she will be studying broadcasting, telecommunications and mass media at Temple University.

"I've always wanted to be an anchorwoman when I was little. I think it was in middle school [Beverly Hills in Upper Darby]–we had a TV station and you had get picked by your homeroom teacher to do that. I always thought, 'I wish I could do that' and that would be really cool if I did," explains Jess and her future career path. "I think anchorwomen look so classy too."

Pretty soon, Jess found herself doing Marple Newtown's morning announcements and writing for the school paper. She did her junior initiative at Fox 29 News and her senior project at the Philadelphia Inquirer. In addition, she participated in a program with KYW News.

"And the more and more stuff I did, I loved it so much more and I knew I was headed in the right area," says Jess.

But she's also looking forward to other things that college life will bring–mainly, freedom.

"I'm glad I'm going to Temple because I still have close ties to home and I can take the train home anytime I want but I'm going to be living in the city for the first time and I get to experience everything the city has to offer," says Jess. "The most important thing for me is detaching myself from the suburbs and experiencing the city. I love the city so much–when you're living there, you really feel like you're a part of it."

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