Southside’s Crum eyes Mobile after Selma

Published 4:42 pm Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Southside High School valedictorian Kyerra Crum has a quote that she turns over in her mind each day to keep her inspired – “It’s not where you come from, but where you’re going.”

“This lets me know, even though I’m from Pine Glen, I can go farther than that,” Crum said. “I am not my environment.”

Crum moved to Selma from Mobile at only three years old and took up residence in the Pine Glen neighborhood.

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“Even though it’s labeled as this terrible place now, it was a fun place to grow up,” Crum said of the neighborhood. “This is where a lot of my friendships started. Those were the days.”

Crum speaks as though she has an elder’s experience beneath her wings, recalling the city’s thriving bowling alley and shopping mall and days spent playing games with friends in a field near her neighborhood.

As a high school student, Crum spent most of her time beyond the classroom listening to music, reading and mentoring younger students.

But the most enjoyable part of her high school career was the time spent in her high school band under the direction of Marvin Griffin.

“He was the best,” Crum said of Griffin. “He opened our eyes to new things. He was truly for the kids. He made sure we explored while perfecting our craft.”

Despite that, Crum said her senior year was difficult in a variety of ways.

“This year was tough for me,” Crum said. “It opened my eyes to a lot of things. Being named valedictorian means I accomplished everything I wanted. Even through everything I was dealing with, I didn’t let it interfere with school.”

Crum said she struggled to understand how some of her peers could be complacent when faced with the imminent arrival of their futures.

“The most difficult part for me was realizing that not everyone wants to improve,” Crum said. “Some people are content where they are. I had to realize I can’t help people who truly don’t want it.”

Crum already has her eyes on the world beyond Selma – after taking a few classes at Wallace Community College – Selma (WCCS) this summer, to sharpen her skills and continue pushing forward, Crum plans to study mathematics at Spring Hill College in Mobile.

To the Class of 2020, Crum says “stay focused” and “set out to become better than the Class of 2019 in ways that you can be proud of” and learn from mistakes.

To her classmates, Crum says the future is in their hands.

“This is a new beginning of new heights and horizons, which we must conquer individually and collectively,” Crum said.

Crum recalled the words of the poet Ralph Waldo Emerson in reminding her classmates that the world is what they make of it: “The only person you are destined to be is the person you decide to be.”

“It is up to each of us to decide what type of person we are to be and what we will be known for,” Crum said. “Continue to push yourself to be great.”