LOWELL -- "I don't think there have ever been four sisters who are as different as we are," laughed Martha Smith.
Clearwater Valley High School junior Martha Smith, 17, is the oldest of the Smith sisters, followed by Luella, Ruth and Maddie.
Being at the top of the sister chain brings great obligation.
"Yes, I definitely feel a sense of responsibility to pave the path, to do the right things," she said. "In the end, though, we are very different people, and each have our own journey."
Martha's journey has been dotted with plans that were placed in her mind's path since she was a little girl.
"I'm a very type A personality," she smiled. "I have a plan -- I have a way I like things to be."
Part of that plan has been the desire to be a lawyer. That aspiration since childhood has established goals along the path that Martha has set out to achieve.
"As I've gotten older, my close friend circle has grown smaller," she explained, saying she considers herself friends with everyone at school; however, the number of fellow students she is close to has become those who share her desire to do well academically and work hard in general.
She said she credits her boyfriend, Orofino senior Adam Walz, with adding adventure to her life.
“He’s a little extreme with the outdoor activities,” she smiled. “He’s definitely brought me out of my comfort zone.”
Martha is also a realist.
"OK, for a long time I wanted to be like someone on High School Musical -- the really smart kid who was also gifted athletically," she laughed. "I was going to be a top basketball player. The truth is, I'm 5’1”. That's probably not going to happen."
That doesn't mean she has quit trying.
"I still work hard in all the athletics in which I’m involved -- but I work even harder off the court," she explained. "My priorities shifted, and I have really dived into academics and student council."
Martha is a 4.0 student and the CVHS ASB vice president with plans to run for president for her senior year. She was recently elected as the Region 1 and 2 president for the State of Idaho Student Council at its February conference in Boise. She also plans to run for Idaho Youth Governor at the Idaho Youth Legislature this month.
The daughter of Mike, Jr., and Lara Smith, Martha credits her parents for her upbringing that has taught her to not only be independent, but to also respect the opinions of others.
"Oh, I wasn't always that way," she laughed. "In my younger years, I just wanted to tell people they were wrong! Couldn't they see it?"
However, she said her parents' patience, tolerance and willingness to be invested in the communities of Kooskia, Lowell and beyond, have led her to believe even those with very differing political ideas and opinions can -- and should -- get along.
"I would love to change the divisive nature of the times we live in," she said. "I would like to take away the anger, the separate political parties and focus on what's right, what's best, period."
Martha has utilized IDLA (Idaho Digital Learning Academy) to take dual-credit online classes, as well as traditional classes at CVHS.
"This has allowed me to take some higher level and different courses than what is offered here at CV," she explained.
Does that mean she has been dissatisfied with her rural education? Not at all.
"You get out of it what you put into it -- just like everything else in life," she stated.
She said she is thankful to her Clearwater Valley teachers who have invested their time, expertise and mentoring.
This attitude has flowed over into her athletic career-- which includes volleyball and track along with basketball -- as well as her after-school job.
Martha works for Idaho Country Real Estate, performing their social media tasks as well as receptionist duties.
"I have learned so much from this job," she said. She said her social skills have vastly improved. "The same expectations were given to me as any other employee, and that has helped me to learn and grow."
Following high school, Martha plans to attend college in Idaho or Montana and pursue her dream of becoming an attorney.
Until then, she has a lot of things to look forward to -- such as the 30 to 45-minute drive from Lowell to Kooskia each school day.
"Many days we're all in the car together and it's our 'Car Talk' time," she laughed. "What's talked about in the car stays in the car."
This gives the family time to reconnect in the midst of all of their busy schedules.
Martha said she is fairly comfortable with who she is.
"I learned a long time ago that I'm not the relaxed chill one like Ella is. I'm not the funny one like Ruth or the fun, chatty one like Maddie," she said. "I'm me and I'm OK with that."