Nysah Warren | Staff Writer
In 2013, seniors at Hampton University looked forward to their last, first Holland, One Hundred Days and graduation. But Khiree Smith, a member of the Quintessence 8 class, hit an all-time low. Smith faced homelessness and many other obstacles while attending college.
“Putting myself through school at HU taught me that sometimes rock-bottom gives you the best view of where to go next,” said Smith.
Smith was born in the small city of Hartford, Connecticut, a city he describes as being violent and impoverished.
“It taught me, bred me, beat me and showed me things I wouldn’t have seen elsewhere,” Smith said
Although his time at Hampton was faced with many trials, Smith remembers his best moments at Hampton, the most notable being Ogden Crossing and the Alpha Cabaret.
“Two different times, two different versions of me but neither memory outranks the other,” said Smith.
Now studying law at Georgetown University, Smith said his experiences in life have led him to be where he is today. In an effort to give back, the law student founded The Brilliant Group LLC., which is an organization devoted to breaking down the traditional standard of intelligence.
“Using ‘smart’ as the rubric for achievement and success oppresses the underprivileged by defining their worth in terms dictated by the majority,” Smith revealed. “Our system empowers participants with social independence by emphasizing unique creations and excellence.”
Smith is thriving in his post-undergraduate endeavors. He recently received a National Trial Advocacy Competition’s Award for best closing argument. The competition was held in early October, and he describes winning in the competition as “affirming.”
“Most days I feel very confident, but it was my first trial advocacy completion so it felt good to do well,” said Smith. He also offers a piece of advice to the African-American student looking to pursue a law degree.
“Only do it if you know why,” said Smith.
Smith’s life is packed full of activities, but he still finds time for himself.
“I love music, poetry, business, walking [through] Ikea and doing my best to figure out happiness,” said Smith.
Smith had a life that challenged him, but it has led him to want to leave a unique mark on the world.
“I want the world to remember me for inspiring love and teaching people that happiness is a choice and success is subjective.”