Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Renaissance High’s Naomi Smith is not your typical sophomore. She’s the Detroit Public School League Proud Strong Learner of the Week because of her softball exploits as the Phoenix’s starting catcher. But there’s much more behind the mask.
“She’s very aggressive and competitive in trying different things, and that’s how you want kids to be,’’ Phoenix coach Garrard Taylor said. “If you ask her to try something new, she’s confident in herself and doesn’t say ‘I can’t do that.’ She’s just very well-rounded and has such a great personality.”
Smith entered the week hitting .450 for the Phoenix, the six-time defending PSL softball champions. She’s also thrown out six runners from behind the plate. In addition to softball this spring, she played junior varsity volleyball last fall, and maintains a 3.5 grade point average.
Although she’s just a sophomore, Smith has also made an impact with her involvement in a wide-range of organizations that include Jack and Jill, the Girl Scouts, the P.E.A.R.L.S mentoring group and the Michigan Victors Club, to name a few.
“My parents are really good at exposing me to a lot of different things and cultures,’’ said Smith “They’ve taught me that I can’t be closed-minded and that I have to be able to see everybody’s point of view. One of my strengths is that I listen very well. You can’t be selfish and you have to be able to accept criticism because it can only make you better.”
Smith said her career goal is to become a network TV correspondent. Her favorite school subject is English and her command of the language has fueled a passion for writing. “I like to write because I like people to know what I have to say,’’ she explained.
When not catching, Smith has played other positions on the field.
“It’s weird, but the reason I like to catch is because of the protection (gear) you wear,’’ she said. “I don’t want the ball to hit me. I’m a good catcher, but I also play first base and third base and I’ve been practicing to be a pitcher. I’ve also been running a lot. I want to get faster.”
She’s already ahead of the pace as one of the few sophomores to be named PSLer of the Week. “I’m really honored and I’m excited,’’ Smith said. “I’m surprised that it wasn’t a senior chosen. But I’m happy it’s me.”