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TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – For 13 year old Keivonte Smith, hard work and perseverance means success.

The 8th grader at Tupelo Middle School was recently nominated to attend the Junior National Young Leaders State Conference.

“I was surprised,” he said.

Actually, this is the fourth time Keivonte has been nominated by one of his teachers to attend the conference, which is part of the Congressional Youth Leadership Council.

Previous meetings have been held in Washington DC, and that was simply too expensive for Keivonte’s family. But in February, the JNYLSC will take place in Birmingham.

TMS Teacher Julia Smith nominated Keivonte for the top honor.

“I’m looking for confidence, competence , character, caring and compassion and a connection,” Smith said.

The Junior National Young Leaders State Conference helps sixth through ninth graders sharpen their leadership skills through workshops, seminars and other activities over a four day period.

Keivonte understands the honor and privilege that comes with the chance of attending the event.

“It means that, I’m capable of being a leader and I got to prove myself worthy of it and in the future, use my assets of a leader to help people around me and help myself to be better,” he said.

Keivonte excels in all subjects, but his favorites are math and science. He also plays wide receiver and cornerback for the Middle School football team.

His future aspirations combine all of his talents.

“One of my options is becoming a professional baseball player , but then if I don’t do that I want to have a degree in business to where I can own my company and be CEO of that,” Keivonte said.

With his drive, determination and opportunity to attend the junior leadership conference, Keivonte is definitely Making the Grade.

If you would like to help Keivonte get to Birmingham, you can send a donation to :

Life Changing Ministries

Attn: Sheryl Traylor

94 S. Thomas

Tupelo, MS  38801


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