OKLAHOMA CITY – Foley Smith has a passion for music.
“Music is almost omnipresent in human lives in my opinion,” said Smith, a senior at Capitol Hill High School.
It’s a passion Smith perfects through practice.
“Sometimes, if I’m restless after work, I stuff a pillow in my wind instruments or I’ll wrap a wash cloth around my guitar strings. I’ll like practice at 2 in the morning,” he said.
The talented high school senior’s story began a few years ago when he was diagnosed with appendicitis. At the time, his parents were already strapped for cash and paying for his mother’s own health condition.
“We lost the car we had at that time, and we were about to lose our house, but we moved out of it before we got our eviction notice and we lived in a barn on my grandparent’s farm,” he said.
With no running water, they showered at truck stops.
“That winter was very brutal. No insulation, no electricity so, you know, everybody fights with who gets to cuddle with the dog,” Smith said.
When he was old enough, Smith worked two jobs and got a car. Every day, he went to school – at times with only 30 minutes of sleep.
But, there was something or someone driving Smith to succeed.
“Ms. Asbury, for a few minutes, was driving me to school until I had my license,” he said.
The staff at Capitol Hill High School also helped get Smith on the food pantry program, a dental program and encouraged him to pursue a degree.
“We knew that he was capable of great things and refused to let him settle for mediocrity,” said Tristianne Asbury, the director of bands at Capitol Hill High School.
At a luncheon at the Regional Food Bank last fall, Smith got a huge surprise that will change his future.
“We want to welcome you to OU,” said a speaker in a cellphone video from the luncheon.
Smith will attend the University of Oklahoma in the fall with the goal to become just like Ms. Asbury, who is a mentor and an inspiration to a child who was dealt with a tough upbringing.
“It’s definitely been an honor to be his band teacher, and I’m going to miss him when he graduates,” she said tearfully.
Smith currently lives with a friend and their family. His family still lives an hour away.
Smith said he will pay for college with money from Oklahoma’s Promise and Crimson Commitment. He wants to study music.