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Olympian Michele Smith's Advice for High School Grads

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michelesmithMichele Smith

CALIFON— Out of the 10 famous alumni from Hunterdon County schools, readers voted Michele Mary Smith, who graduated from Voorhees High School in 1984, as the coolest.

Smith is a double Olympic Softball Gold Medalist with the U.S. National Team. In 1998 she was inducted into New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Hall of Fame and the Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame in 2006. Smith now works as a Softball Analyst for ESPN.

When she's not covering roughly 50 games each year for ESPN, Smith is also a motivation speaker and has her own softball business

"It's a lot of fun," she said. "I'm very lucky to be around the game."

Although Smith now lives in Treasure Island, Florida, with relatives nearby and perfect weather year-round, she fondly remembers growing up in Hunterdon County.

"I was always that young lady running or playing because I loved to be outdoors," she said, recalling training in Voorhees State Park across from the high school. "There's no better place to grow up."

Thanking everyone who vote in the poll, Smith said the strong community is what makes Hunterdon special.

"You don't always get to pick where you grow up, your parent do, so I was really fortunate," she said.

Passing on advice to recent graduates, Smith said success is all about finding your passion.

"I think the big thing is to work hard no matter what your passion is. To continue to love it, to grow and thrive. Figure out what you love and make it a big part of your life," she said.

Smith said people questioned softball as a lifelong career for her, but chose to do something that inspired her to jump out of bed everyone morning.

And if you're ever challenged in life, Smith says to face that adversity.

"When you're challenged you really grow," she said. "At the moment things you think are so terrible will change and it's all those things that make you great."

Emily Cummins may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @EmilyACummins and Facebook.

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