Deanna Earl Smith was extremely busy during her time at Buford High School. The Class of 1999 graduate embodied the school’s motto of “Triple A Excellence” as Deanna was not only active but she excelled in all three areas — The Arts, Academics and Athletics. Deanna began her journey at Buford City Schools in kindergarten and is what locals consider a Buford “lifetimer” as she completed her entire K-12 career at BCS.
In the area of the Arts, Deanna spent all four years at BHS as a member of the chorus. Academically, she graduated third in her class and was a member of the National Honor Society.
Where Deanna really shined was in athletics as she was a four-year varsity starter for both the softball team and the basketball team. In her senior year, Deanna was selected as the team captain of the softball team. During her junior and senior years, she was selected for the Gwinnett County All-Star Team for softball.
Deanna was a very gifted basketball player and helped the Lady Wolves to be the 1999 GHSA Class A State Runner-Up. She was selected as the team captain during her senior year. Deanna was selected to the Naismith All-State Basketball Team during her junior and senior years. From her sophomore year to her senior year, Deanna earned All-County and All-Region honors. Following her senior year, Deanna got to play in the prestigious North-South State All-Star game.
Deanna was voted as the Most Athletic Female by her class for the senior superlatives. She was crowned as the basketball Homecoming queen her senior year and was voted on by the BHS faculty to receive the “Danny Sexton Award.” She was a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Beta Club.
Her athletic and academic talents earned Deanna a basketball scholarship to Valdosta State University. Deanna was also recognized for her athletic contributions to Buford High School when she was inducted into the BHS Hall of Fame in 2012.
Following her graduation from BHS in 1999, Deanna went to Valdosta State University on her basketball scholarship. She graduated cum laude from VSU in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.
For 17 ½ years, Deanna has been in the medical field as a registered nurse. The last 8 ½ years, she has worked in the emergency room at Northside Gwinnett Hospital (formerly Gwinnett Medical Center). Prior to working at Northside Gwinnett, Deanna worked in the emergency rooms at Piedmont Hospital in Downtown Atlanta, as well as Atlanta Medical Center.
When she isn’t busy saving lives, Deanna enjoys spending time with her family at their home in Sugar Hill. She is married to Cory Smith, a 2006 BHS graduate and they have three children. The eldest is Mackinley, age 14 who attended BCS through the eighth grade but currently attends Cherokee Bluff High School. Her middle child is Blakely who is eight years old and attends Buford Academy and her youngest child is Bryant, age 5 who is in kindergarten at Buford Elementary School.
Buford First Baptist Church has been a huge part of Deanna’s life from the time her parents, Dean and Tommie Earl, both 1966 BHS alumni and her brother, Donnie Earl, a 1995 graduate of BHS, started attending the church when she was 11 years old. As an adult, Deanna and her husband decided to rejoin the church that they grew up in seven years ago.
“I help in the church nursery on Sundays, and the best night of the week on Sunday evenings with the 7th grade girls,” said Deanna when asked if she volunteers anywhere.
Buford is still a huge part of her life and she remembers growing up in Buford fondly.
“What I loved about growing up in Buford was that it was a small town and everyone knew everyone. You even knew people and hung out with kids from rival schools like North Gwinnett and Dacula,” Deanna said.
FEATURED PHOTO: Deanna Earl Smith, her husband Cory Smith, daughter Mckinley, daughter Blakely and son Bryant currently live in Sugar Hill. Photo courtesy of Deanna Earl Smith.