The founder of Generation 2 Book Club at Harlan Elementary School in Birmingham, Titus Smith III is a tenacious 11-year-old who was recently chosen to contribute for the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps.
“My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Ables, told me about Scholastic News,” Titus said. “I thought it would be really fun. I found out that kids in the past had gone to the White House and the Kid’s Choice Awards. That seemed really interesting to me.”
Smith wrote his 400-word entry about a Detroit program called Reach Out to Youth.
“It’s teaching little kids in the Detroit area how to be doctors,” he said. “It’s run by medical students from Wayne State. I interviewed the founder of Reach Out to Youth. She’s a child psychologist.”
A month after submitting his entry, Smith received notice that he was chosen from about 300 submissions to join the esteemed press corps. “I started jumping up and down and screaming,” he said. “(My family) was doing the same exact thing. We were all jumping up and down.”
Smith will pitch ideas on current events, sports, breaking news and entertainment to his editor throughout 2017. Stories are posted on their website, and some will be selected to be printed in the Scholastic News magazine, which is distributed to classrooms for teachers to use as a resource. For one of his first articles, Smith wanted to cover the Detroit Auto Show.
“When I grow up, I want to be an engineer. If I could interview some engineers that would be awesome.”
Smith was encouraged to read at a young age and his family stressed the value of academics.
“My mom loves to read and I love to read. I think I learned how to copy her,” he said. “It’s very important to my mom and (my grandparents) that I get good grades.”
One of Smith’s biggest influences is Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. “He’s kind of my idol,” he said. “I love that he’s the CEO of technology. I love Tesla.”
Smith founded the Generation 2 Book Club to share his love of reading with his community. The book club meets monthly and they do projects based on each book. “If we pick a book about science, we do science projects.”
The budding dynamo has already laid out his educational and professional future.
“I want to go to MIT or Stanford,” he said. “I want to get a degree in electrical engineering and I want to open a technology company where they make movie technology in real life.”
In the interim, Smith enjoys spending time in downtown Birmingham.
“I love the Baldwin Public Library. Downtown Birmingham is one of my favorite areas.”
Lakeshia Dickinson, Smith’s mother, is intent on guiding him to achieve his ambitious objections. “He’s very outgoing, driven, personable and innovative,” she said. “It is important that I keep him abreast of what is going on. My goal for him is to be successful and to be an asset to society.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent