Taking Charge: Chris Smith

HARLINGEN — He’s in the lead.

Chris Smith is beginning his senior year, but he’s already preparing for his future by taking charge of the present.

“I’m a really big fan of leadership,” said Chris, 17, who is president of the Harlingen South Speech Drama and Debate Team — for the second year.

He’s also serving as this year’s president of the National Technical Honor Society, of which he spoke with pride and admiration.

“It’s a society of higher distinguished students,” Chris said. “It’s people who take career-based classes, like the CTE courses in school.”

CTE stands for Career and Technical Education.

Chris’s involvement with both organizations has propelled him toward an interest in medicine. He’s spent years in solo acting, duet acting, and extemporaneous speaking. While he’s enjoyed them all, his activities in informative speaking have opened doors to his future. Last year, he was a finalist at the Texas Forensic Association state tournament where he gave a speech about the Mandela Effect. He researched the subject extensively.

“I found out that it makes people more prone to actually get Alzheimer’s or actually hurt their brains overall,” Chris said. “It’s a theory based on our brains’ ability to recall memories.”

From that springboard he began exploring the field of Alzheimer’s.

“I became really passionate about how our minds work and kind of putting research into that,” he said. “Trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s is something that I’m really passionate about.”

So passionate, in fact, that he’d like to pursue medicine after high school.

“I’m not exactly sure where I want to go to college,” he said. “I want to major in chemistry and go for probably a medical degree of some sort, maybe in practice or biomedical research.”

Presentation can make all the difference when it comes to achieving goals, including medical breakthroughs. A perfect example is that of Louis Pasteur who was able to explain germ theory to large groups of people through his passionate presentations.

Speech and drama have given Chris that talent, and his experiences as a leader have taught him how to organize people to pursue an object. That’s another important quality for success.

He spoke with great enthusiasm about his worth with the NTHA.

“I just enjoy working with a bunch of students who are passionate about their careers ahead of time, as opposed to graduating and not really understanding what you want to do,” he said. “They are already thinking about what they want to do. It’s just a good way to get that organized ahead of schedule.”

The Chris Smith File

* 17, a senior at Harlingen High School South

* President of the Harlingen South Speech Drama and Debate Team

* President of the National Technical Honor Society

* Section leader of the violas in the varsity orchestra at Harlingen South

* Vice president of the senior class

* Texas Forensic Association State Outstanding Presiding Officer

* UIL Student Congress District Champion

* UIL Informative Speaking Regional Qualifier


* 1st place titles in Impromptu, Extemporaneous, Informative and Persuasive Speaking, Original Oratory, Lincoln Douglas Debate, and Student Congress

* UIL District Champion in Lincoln Douglas Debate

* 12th overall in Persuasive Speaking at the UIL State Meet

* UIL One Act Play Outstanding Light Technician at the Zone, District, Bi-District, Area and Regional levels

* Finalist in Informative Speaking at the Winston Churchill Invitational in San Antonio

* TFA State Qualifier in Foreign and Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, Congressional Debate and Lincoln Douglas Debate

* 5th overall in Informative Speaking at the Texas Forensic Association State Tournament

* NSDA Gulf Coast Champion in Informative Speaking

* Two time National Speech and Debate Association Tournament Qualifier