Two generations of Pelham Panthers
By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist
Wendy Adams is a bundle of sophomore energy in my memory, the younger sister of my PHS classmate Jeff Adams.
He was a talented basketball player who went on to play basketball at the University of Montevallo. As his younger sister, Wendy Adams was a dynamo herself. Today Adams is still a dynamo and the mother of one of my students—Caitland Smith.
Caitland Smith has been a PHS track star this year—winning races and setting records constantly. In fact, Smith has done so well that she has been invited to compete in Puerto Rico and The World Youth Trials in Illinois. A strong showing in Illinois could lead her to The World Youth Games in Ukraine. Excitedly, Smith says, “That would be my first chance to see Europe.”
Caitland Smith writes in scenes that take readers along on her journeys. Smith also has a penchant for spoken word poetry.
A young woman focused on giving her own best performance, I’m not surprised that Caitland Smith appreciates powerful performances from others. Commenting about a Youtube clip of spoken word poet Rudy Francisco that we watched in class, Smith said, “I found other contest performances of that same poem, but they weren’t as good as that early clip.”
Smith knows the intensity of aiming for a personal best.
“The people I’ve met and the places that I’ve traveled to as a runner have been great. I love what I’ve learned. I’ve also worked towards discipline,” Smith said when asked about the perks of running. “I know more about nutrition. I used to eat whatever I wanted and I would win. Now, my goal isn’t only to win. My coaches want my best times. Fulfilling my potential is a more important goal than winning.”
When I caught up with Wendy Adams and her husband at their daughter’s National English Honor Society induction, she said, “We’re all so proud of Caitland.”
Wendy Adams and Caitland Smith are two generations of hard-working Pelham Panthers—a mother-daughter team that is making Pelham proud.