Classroom Champions: La Vega's Dakota Smith

"I don't know if there's anything that can slow her down if she doesn't want to be slowed down."

That's what La Vega softball coach Tara Turk said about senior Dakota Smith, a Lyon College Softball commit. And it's proved to be true so far, not even a broken ankle has gotten in her way.

"I just didn't care, I played softball in a walking boot."

"If she puts her mind to it she will definitely go full force into it. And I think that's part of her personality that will help her succeed. She's a special person," said Turk.

Special, and busy. Dakota, who's ranked 8th in her class, also runs track and cross country, and plays soccer and volleyball. She also spends her weekday mornings at the Greater Waco Advanced Health Care Academy.

"She's exactly the kind of student that you would hope to have, because she makes the class just wonderful," said GWAHCA teacher Lindsay Pack.

She logs all those hours a GWAHCA because she wants to be an occupational therapist one day, helping others rehab their injuries. And it seems like she's chosen her career path for all the right reasons.

"You get to see other people smile and make them happy," said Smith. "And when they're happy, I'm happy."

"She's very very caring," said Pack. "She's alaways the upbeat one. If someone is saying something negative, she...just jokes it off. She is the light of the classroom."

And Dakota knows how she wants people to remember her once she leaves La Vega.

"That she was an outstanding person."

There certainly won't be an issue with that.

"Wherever she may go, whether it be the next college, whether it will be the college after that, or the university she may attend, she can be that postiive influece for others around her, and shed a good light for our community and our school district.