Nate Smith doesn’t like to sit around.
Last Thursday, he spent the morning on the job installing docks at Bank’s Dock Service in Naples. He went to school to take an exam, then took off for work at his second job doing maintenance for the Naples Recreation Program.
It was a typical day for Smith, the captain of two varsity sports.
“It’s busy but I like it,” he said.
Smith is among a class of roughly 110 students who will graduate from Lake Region High School this Sunday at the Naples school at 2 p.m.
Raised by a single mother, Smith “took responsibility very young and built a work ethic. I don’t like asking people for stuff. I like to earn my own money,” he said.
Around town, Smith, of Naples, is best known as a standout basketball and baseball player. A captain of the varsity basketball team for the past two years, Smith helped lead the team to its first championship in more than 30 years this winter.
After seeing sports coverage in the local newspapers, “people come up to you in the store to say hi,” Smith said.
“You don’t get that in other communities,” he said. “The town is like no other in how they support their students and athletes.”
Smith is most passionate about basketball, he said, because “it’s a way to express yourself. All of your problems off the court disappear when you’re on the court with your teammates.”
He didn’t raise the topic of his own basketball accomplishments or his team’s championship in an interview last week, which John Mayo, a teacher and varsity basketball coach, said is indicative of Smith’s humble nature.
Although Smith played in the state’s All-Star Game and is one of his team’s highest point earners, “he’s not looking to be in the spotlight,” said Mayo. “He’s a quiet kid, humble, who works hard and is passionate about what he does.”
The 2016 recipient of the school’s sportsmanship award, Smith led by example in his plays and in his demeanor, Mayo said. He brings dedication and a strong work ethic to the court, where he was a major factor in the team’s success this year, Mayo said.
As a student, Smith is detail oriented and conscientious, said Mayo, who has been his accounting teacher for two years.
This fall, Smith will attend Thomas College in Waterville, where he plans to major in business with a minor in science while continuing to play basketball. He wants a career where he stays busy and helps people, he said, and he’s is looking toward becoming a physician’s assistant.
If he decides not to pursue medicine, “I can fall back on business,” Smith said, “and do almost anything with that.”
More Lake Region graduations this weekend
110 students will graduate from Gray-New Gloucester High School this Saturday, June 11, at 4 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
Windham High School will hold its graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 12, at 1:30 p.m. at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
Nate Smith shoots during the Southern Maine Class B Regional Final against Yarmouth, where he was the highest scoring player with 17 points.