James Smith graduated from Carrboro High School in Carrboro, North Carolina. Smith was the president of the National Honor Society, and through that organization created an annual scholarship for students with financial need, tutored peers and raised funds for local charities. At Carrboro High School, Smith founded and led a program for tutoring Chapel Hill/Carrboro elementary school students. He was also the Co-Leader of two service trips to Kiria, Kenya during the summers prior to his junior and senior years; Smith and other volunteers upgraded the infrastructure of a local schoolhouse, and repaired local roads. Smith plans to major in Global Studies with minors in Spanish and Business. Smith will be working with the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Human Rights Center.