Muscle Shoals senior chosen
Shoals Student of the Year
Originally published by Times Daily
By Wayne Smith
Dalton Kerby said his selection as Shoals Student of the Year is a tribute to his school and the area where he was raised.
“It’s a huge honor for me to represent the community and area,” Kerby said. “I want to be a model for what I was exposed to at Muscle Shoals and the Shoals area.”
Kerby has plenty of accomplishments along the way to being recognized as a model and as this year’s Shoals Student of the Year.
The student of the year program is a major fundraiser for the Shoals Scholar Dollars initiative, founded by the Florence and Greater Shoals Sheffield Rotary clubs.
A senior at Muscle Shoals High School, Kerby is vice president of the Student Council. He also is president of the Interclub Council, co-editor of the yearbook and club officer for both the Skills USA Team and Spanish Club. He has served as chapter chaplain for the Key Club and historian for Future Business Leaders of America.
However, the accomplishments don’t end with his school activities.
He also is involved in community service, which includes being a Muscle Shoals High School Ambassador, Operation Christmas Child, a volunteer tutor and doing relief work following the tornado that hit Phil Campbell in 2011.
“It was really an eye-opening experience,” Kerby said of his volunteer work in Phil Campbell. “It was a horrible situation, but it was cool seeing north Alabama rally to help those who needed it.”
Kerby was one of 17 candidates for the Student of the Year award. He receives a two-year scholarship to Northwest Shoals, as well as a two-year scholarship to the University of North Alabama. He also receives a new car from Long Lewis Mitsubishi as well as $500 cash.
Kerby said he is undecided on a major, but is debating between English and architecture.
“I have a passion for English and I’d like to somehow wind up working in the film industry,” Kerby said. “I think it’d be cool to be behind the scenes in story writing and things like that.”
He said every teacher he has had at Muscle Shoals has improved him academically. He singled out English teacher Donna Keeton as being especially important to him.
“I like most subjects, but English really became my favorite,” Kerby said. “She taught me to read between the lines while reading and is really the main reason I’m interested in English as a college major.”
Keeton said Kerby is deserving of Student of the Year.
“Dalton’s academic record speaks for itself and many students can boast of such things and fill a resume with community service and leadership experience,” Keeton said in nominating Kerby for the award. “However, Dalton’s academic accomplishments, hours and hours of community service, and leadership activities are simply a natural part of his life, not a concerted effort just to fill that resume.
“Furthermore, Dalton is confident and self-assured, yet humble and gracious.”
In his essay turned into the committee, Kerby describes what a model student should be.
“A model student is characterized by three equally important categories: academic success, devotion to service, and a strong sense of leadership,” Kerby wrote. “I believe I am deserving of consideration for Shoals Student of the Year due to my commitment to school, community and those who look to me for guidance.”
He said he was surprised to be a finalist. “I’ve met the other competitors and they are amazing people,” he said. “It’s a complete surprise because everyone was so deserving.”
Randy Pettus, executive director for Shoals Scholar Dollars, said Kerby was an outstanding selection as Student of the Year.
“The committee was in total agreement on his selection,” Pettus said. “He had an outstanding resume, as well as an outstanding interview. His community service and his focus on giving back to the community were just tremendous.
“We had 17 outstanding candidates and the decision was one of the hardest we’ve had to make.”
“A model student is characterized by three equally important categories: Academic success, devotion to service, and a strong sense of leadership. I believe I am deserving of consideration for Shoals Student of the Year due to my commitment to school, community, and those who look to me for guidance.
I recognize the importance of a sound education. In my academic endeavors I have been fortunate enough to achieve National Merit Scholar Semifinalist standing with the hope of achieving Finalist standing within a few months. My hard work and dedication in and out of the classroom are bound to aid my academic goals. I am confident that education is key to lifelong success.
Students spend a mere portion of their day in a classroom setting; the majority of a pupil’s time is spent interacting with the “real world.” Having been blessed with so much, I believe that it is my civic duty to reciprocate and assist those less fortunate than I. Whether it is volunteering with disadvantaged youth or clearing debris after a devastating storm, small acts of service can have lasting impacts.
Finally, a model student should properly guide those who look up to him or her. I am proud to be the vice president of my student body amongst other leadership positions, and such titles have instilled within me strong senses of time management, courtesy, and peer guidance. Although far from perfect, I am proud of the young man my high school career has seen me become.”
– Jake Kerby