Meet 10 students in the Upstate who are making a difference in their communities.


Etta Smith has no shortage of activities in her life, but she remains committed to doing them all well and serving others in the process.

Etta is a student at Stone Academy in Greenville, where she excels academically, is president of the student council and more.

Suzanne Shouse, the school’s assistant principal, said Etta is extremely well rounded. One of her most important contributions to the school has been a project to recognize students when they are kind.

“She most recently helped spearhead a project called the kindness tree,” Shouse said. “Students and staff are attaching paper hearts on the tree that detail ways they have shown or been shown kindness. Etta is also a member of Stone Academy’s Play Production, a drama performance group that practices weekly and performs several times a year for parents and guests. After school, Etta participates in both the Encore dance and STEAM programs, enrichment opportunities for students here at Stone. At just 10 years old, Etta has already displayed a strong desire to serve others, has found a passion for the arts and has learned how to balance academics and extra-curricular activities. Her calm and sweet demeanor make her an absolute joy to be around.”

Lolly Smith, Etta’s mother, said Etta is very easy going and could easily fly under the radar of those around her, but she chooses to focus on making life better.

“She is very considerate of other people and their feelings,” she said. “She’s always been a compassionate human being.”

Etta said the school’s kindness tree means a lot to her.

“It’s important to realize who is doing good deeds and who is helping other people at the school,” she said.

Nomination excerpt: “Etta is an extremely well-rounded young lady. She is probably one of the most polite, respectful children I have had the privilege of knowing.”

Students Who Make a Difference: Charlotte Alexander

Students Who Make a Difference: Elijah Brockman

Students Who Make a Difference: Dylan LaPlace

Students Who Make a Difference: Tamyra Lattimore

Students Who Make a Difference: André Nguyen

Students Who Make a Difference: Jordan Smith

Students Who Make a Difference: Henry Sun

Students Who Make a Difference: Chase Watson

Students Who Make a Difference: Miguel Zuñiga-Jiminez

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