Dixie Smith

Congressman Alcee L. Hastings made the following statement on the House floor on October 25, 2011, recognizing Dixie Smith as a Hastings' Star Student:

M. Speaker, I rise today to honor Ms. Dixie Smith, a Suncoast High School senior in Riviera Beach, as a Hastings' Star Student. During her junior year of high school, Dixie earned recognition as the Palm Beach County All-Conference selection for diving. This year however, her accomplishments go even further. Recently, world renowned tennis player Serena Williams chose 17-year old Dixie as the recipient for the M Foundation's Silver M Award. With this award, she joins the ranks of previous recipients who are viewed as "exemplary role models" in their communities. The award will present Dixie with a $1,000 college scholarship and a $1,000 donation to a charity of her choice. It was Dixie's commitment to giving back to her community which earned her this award.

Without a doubt, Dixie Smith exemplifies the term volunteerism. She started the Autism Speaks club at her high school, teaches gymnastics at Gymnastics Revolution, and also lends her time to instructing developmentally disabled children at the Renaissance Learning Center. Additionally, she has taught surfing to autistic children for the past three years, and has participated in the Surfers for Autism event regularly. In a recent letter, Dixie shared with me how these events served to be a humbling experience as time after time she witnessed children, who were initially afraid of the ocean, overcome their fears and catch waves on their own. She believes that surfing changes them, and the joy felt by their parents as they thank her is better than any award or scholarship she could ever receive. Dixie's work with developmentally disabled children is to be commended. Her selfless service represents a true dedication to the betterment of her community. I am sure Dixie's outstanding achievements are an inspiration to her peers and to the greater Riviera Beach area. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.