Grad created first film club at Destrehan High

While at Destrehan High, graduating senior Finn Smith developed a budding interest in film. When she realized the school did not have a student-led organization focused on film, she had a simple solution – she took charge and started her own film club.

“It was basically free movie screening, and I ran it with one of my favorite teachers,” Smith explained of the Destrehan High film club she founded. “I’m [extremely] interested in indie art-house movies, so I leaned towards that [film genre], and made it mostly palatable.”

Smith said she kept busy during high school with primarily gifted classes, which did not leave much free time for other activities other than her film club. She did find time, though, to participate in both the National Honor Society and the National English Honor Society.

Her favorite class at Destrehan High was Talented Art, a subject that she says she enjoyed taking even though it did not have teacher continuity year-to-year. Smith’s fellow 2023 graduating class had to navigate not only COVID-19, but also Hurricane Ida related challenges in order to graduate; both events disrupted students’ and teachers’ lives the last four years.

“It was tricky, because we had four [Talented Art] teachers in the span of four years,” Smith said of Talented Art at Destrehan High. “But I liked the freedom of Talented Art – it was a very independently-driven class.”

Her summer plans include a trip with friends to Tennessee, and then later she will attend a summer program at Columbia University in New York, which is where she will ultimately begin college classes in the fall.

“I was admitted to Columbia through a program called Quest Bridge,” she explained. “Their summer program is a five-week span of courses on campus, and it’s a good chance to get acquainted with the school and the people I’ll be learning from.”

Smith is planning on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art history with a minor in studio art, and afterwards will pursue her master’s degree in museum studies. Her current career track after finishing Columbia is to work for a museum, possibly as a museum curator.

When asked how she believes her fellow students will remember her, she felt it would be mostly her personality that would leave behind the biggest impression.

“I think I’m a creative and kind individual, and I’d like to be remembered for my charisma, but I think I’ll be remembered for my intelligence,” Smith said of her Destrehan High School experience.

Smith’s advice to incoming Destrehan High freshmen in the fall was to put forth maximum effort in high school.

“Just give it your all,” she said. “Utilize all of Destrehan’s programs, because there really is something for everybody.”

As a gifted student, Smith had high praise for her Gifted teachers at Destrehan High, who she felt elevated her overall high school experience.

“I really appreciated my time there, especially because of my Gifted teachers,” Smith said, highlighting one one teacher in particular – her Gifted English Teacher D’Otta Sniezak. “I think people underestimate the value of a mentor like that.”


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