Alexis Smith is a smart, polite, fresh faced freshman at UMKC and not so long ago, she was walking the
halls of Lift For Life Academy. Alexis came to Lift For Life Academy as a sixth grader and stayed through
her eighth grade year. We didn’t have a high school at that time so she moved on to Career Academy, a
St. Louis City Magnet High School.

Now, five years after she left, she came back to say hello. This past semester, Alexis took Art, Science,
Psychology, English 110, and Art History. She admits that her first semester at college has been
challenging but expects to see mostly B’s on her report card. She’s proud that she’s been able to keep
up with her English papers, most of which ran about 5 to 7 pages.

Alexis says she likes living on campus, enjoys Kansas City (“It’s just like St. Louis but the fun is more
spread out”) and has made some friends. When I asked about her roommate, she laughs and says that
they got off to a rocky start but now they’re fine. She says that she learned to “deal with different
attitudes” while at Lift For Life Academy; that patience and tolerance have come in handy now that
she’s out on her own.

Looking forward to the next semester, Alexis plans to run track along with completing courses in
Spanish, English, and College Algebra. Her future plans include majoring in Economics but she isn’t quite
sure what she’d like to do with her degree. I suppose that makes her just like most freshmen. What
makes her different is that she is the first in her immediate family to go to college.

We’re proud of Alexis’ success and the part that Lift For Life Academy played to make it possible. It is
simple stories like this that keep us coming back to work with the students every day.