Elba High School students enjoyed an inspirational message Thursday afternoon, Aug. 15, from one of their own – alumnus LeRay Smedley, who currently works for President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C. Smedley said his a proud native of Elba, Ala., having graduated from Elba High School in the late 1990’s. After another recent speaking engagement in his hometown, Elba High School principal Wynn Grimes said Smedley was asked to come and speak to the student body at his alma mater, and he gladly accepted that invitation. Smedley currently serves as the Presidential Communications Officer Program Manager and the supervisor of network operations in support of the President, Vice President, and the First Lady of the United States. He manages 100 technicians who are responsible for recreating the White House environment around the globe. “We asked LeRay to come and give an inspirational speech for our students,” Grimes said. “With it being early in the school year and LeRay being ‘home’ it was a perfect opportunity for our current students to hear from a former Elba student that has excelled in his professional career.” Grimes said Smedley is a perfect example of a smalltown guy that pursued his dreams and has done extremely well. “Our kids really enjoyed his speech,” Grimes said. “Sometimes it is difficult to engage teenagers for a speaker, but LeRay had their full attention the entire time. I think it was even more intriguing to them that he was someone that used to sit exactly where they were sitting, but now gets to work for the President of the United States in the White House. An Elba guy that has flown in Air Force One, Air Force Two and experience so much. The students loved his story.” Grimes said many of the students went up to Smedley following his presentation just so they could meet him personally and shake his hand. As principal and an alumnus himself of Elba, he said that was a special moment for him. “LeRay shared a favorite quote of his that really stood out to me,” Grimes said. “He said ‘It doesn’t matter what kind of shoes you have on if you’re going in the wrong direction.’ I really thought that said a lot, and hopefully registered with many of our current students.” Smedley holds a Master’s degree in business administration, a Master’s degree in information security, a Bachelor’s degree in computer information systems, and he holds several information technology industry level certifications. He was awarded the Department of Defense Spirit of Hope award in 2011 and went on to receive the Presidential Volunteer Service award in 2012. He was selected as the White House Communication’s Agency Member of the Year in 2017. Smedley also was recognized in 2017 as the Alumni of the Year at the University of North Alabama. In 2018, he was selected as a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Council. When he is not occupied with his duties at the White House, Smedley champions equal opportunity, advocates for higher education and espouses diversity in leadership across institutions, businesses and local communities. Also, for the past six years, he has served as ministry leader at Second Calvary Baptist Church, where he leads Young Adult Worship Services. Smedley said he credits his faith in God for his accomplishments in life.