Everett Hoagland Interview
Everett and MasonTell me briefly about your family.
My mom is Anna Sides Smith, she’s the secretary at Sumiton Elementary/Middle School. She’s been a Dora/Sumiton resident her whole life. My step-dad is Steve Smith, a Dora graduate and resident. My dad is Robert Hoagland Jr., he owned Bama Utility Sales on Highway 78 for years and years, he passed away in 2012.
What year did you graduate from Dora?
I graduated from Dora High in 2007.
Were there influential teachers, students, or others there?
Oh, absolutely. I had a lot of great teachers and influences at Dora, but the two that stand out the most are Paige Skalnik and Johnny Wright. Paige was my Speech teacher my 9th grade year, and my English teacher for several years also.
Paige is just one of those unique people who is completely sincere, absolutely dedicated to the job, and someone who genuinely cares for her students. She taught me a lot about just life and the world in general—something I will be eternally grateful for.
She is still a close friend to this day. Coach Wright was also just the embodiment of everything that was awesome to me at 15 or 16.
I can remember thinking that all I wanted one day was to be able to walk into a room and command that kind of respect and to just genuinely be able to help people and motivate them to be their best.
Coach is also still a very good friend of mine.
Did you learn something there that you’ve carried with you?
I think the lesson I learned was that you just have to always be true to yourself. Be true, be the best person you can be, respect others, and everything else will come out in the wash.
When did you know you’d go to college? To the University of Alabama?
I honestly always knew that I was going to college. It was really never anything I questioned. I always wanted to sort of spread my wings and strike out on my own. I knew I would go to Alabama after I was accepted in the Fall of 2006.
Was that your first choice?
It was absolutely my first choice. I honestly never even applied anywhere else. I knew that I wanted to be Bama guy, and that is where I had my sights set from day one.
What did you study at the University?
I got a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and I am now in my last year of law school at the University of Alabama School of Law.
Were you prepared for college life?
I think I was as prepared as anyone can be. I had the basics of how to study, etc. down, but there is honestly so much more to it than that. I think that is the beauty of moving off to go to college somewhere and getting out of your comfort zone a bit.
I learned more about my self in the first two years of college than I did in the 18 years before I left home.
Did you know what you’d be studying early on or decide on it later?
Well when I got to UA, I was initially a Biology/Pre-med major, with the intentions of being a doctor. That lasted one semester and I realized that wasn’t what I was supposed to do, and I switched to Political Science in in the Spring of my freshman year. From that point on it was Poli-Sci/ Law for the rest of my time in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide did well while you were there? Did you attend any of the National Championship games?
I did. In my time at UA we’ve gone to three national championships and I attended the 2012 National Championship in New Orleans. It was an absolutely amazing experience that every true Bama fan should get to be a part of.
It is something I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Which games stood out in your mind?
I honestly don’t have to think about this one for a second—it has to be the Alabama-Tennessee game in 2009. The whole game was actually pretty terrible—sloppy play on both sides and Bama was exhausted and in serious need of a bye week.
But Terrence Cody blocked two field goals (one as the game ended) and we won 12-10. I will never forget that moment as long as I live. It was the only time I have openly cried because I was so happy.
A close second would have to be the UA-UGA SEC Championship game in 2012. A true nail-biter and as far as I am concerned, it was the real National Championship last year.
What are some of the high points in your college career?
Definitely getting my Bachelor’s Degree and getting accepted to Law School. Getting the phone call from the Dean of Admissions letting me know I was accepted is easily the happiest day of my life, and it changed my life forever.
Honestly, one of the highest points in my college career involved the days following the April 27th tornadoes. Seeing people come together and work to help their brothers and sisters in humanity was truly amazing and something that we so rarely get to see.
Even with all of that devastation, getting to see how good we can be as a society (when we try) was not only a high point of my college career, but of my life as a whole—it affected me deeply.
Well, I am going into my last semester of law school, and then it’s on to the next chapter. I’d like to work as a Public Defender, or with a Criminal Defense firm in Tuscaloosa/North-Central Alabama.
Have you set life goals that you’d like to share?
I honestly just want to try to be the best me I can be. I want to help people, make a little money, and eventually work my way into politics. Politics have always been my great love and passion, and I hope to one day either run for office or run a campaign for someone.
Do you have any advice for high school students?
I think Jimmy Valvano said it best when he said, “Don’t give up…don’t ever give up.” That honestly embodies the most important thing anyone can ever tell you. Life throws you so many curve balls, so many that you can’t even wrap your mind around at 16 or 17.
But you can never give up. You have to set a goal, work towards it, but also be willing to take a step back, breathe, and remember where you came from. If you do those things and treat people well (and love your Mama) then you will end up exactly where you should be—even if it isn’t where you thought you would be.