Kaitlyn Smith was never known for her academic achievements.
With a sweet swing and a strong arm, Smith made a name for herself on the softball field.
So the 2010 North Gwinnett grad was a little shocked with the news she received from her Georgia Perimeter College softball coach. GPC coach Ken Deyton told Smith she was on the Division I Academic All-American Team.
"I was completely surprised to be honest," Smith said. "I was shocked to get an award for grades because sports has always been my strong point."
Smith graduated from GPC in May with a 3.73 GPA, a far cry from the 2.5 GPA she had when she graduated from North.
"It's pretty high up there," Smith said of the All-American honor. "It's a good way to end my career. I've always gotten awards playing sports and not academics."
Smith credits her academic success to the mandatory two-hour study hall she had everyday. She also took classes with other softball players that kept her accountable in the classroom.
"Georgia Perimeter definitely helped me get on the right track," Smith said.
In her freshman year with GPC, Smith made the National Junior College Athletic Association All-Region 17 second team with a .362 batting average. She was named co-captain this past season.
"If I had to describe Kaitlyn it would take two words, 'driven' and 'determined' in the classroom and on the field," Deyton said. "It was never a secret that Kaitlyn would be successful. You could see it every day at practice in her work ethic."
Smith drew interest from several colleges to continue her final two years of softball. However, she plans to pursue a career in nursing and turned down scholarship offers to focus on her academics.
"I was back and forth for weeks. Softball has been part of my life since I can remember," Smith said. "I knew I wanted to go to nursing school and it's hard to do both."
Smith plans to attend Gainesville State College in the fall and transfer to North Georgia College in the spring. She plans to pursue labor and delivery nursing.