HUNTSVILLE — Wanda Smith hopes to make a difference in the lives of others by sharing her story of perseverance to approximately 1,940 graduating Bearkats as the guest speaker for the Sam Houston State University Fall 2021 Commencement. The ceremonies are scheduled for Dec. 10 & 11 in Bernard G. Johnson Coliseum.
After pushing through college while working two jobs and raising a family, Smith crossed the SHSU commencement stage in 2010 and finally fulfilled her dream of becoming a teacher at Brenham Elementary School, where she had served for years as a custodian and bus monitor.
Like many students, her path to earning a college degree turned out differently than expected. The challenges of life postponed things; but after years of determination, she completed her degree and found her purpose as an educator.
As a first-grade teacher, Smith is a shining example and inspiration to her students and fellow teachers, as well as her community. Her passion for teaching is reflected in how she wholeheartedly gives to her students.
In May, Smith’s story was featured on NBC’s TODAY show when reporters Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb honored Smith on National Teacher’s Day.
Inspired by her determination to become a teacher, the SHSU College of Education created The Wanda Smith ‘Make a Difference’ Scholarship. The award goes to a first-generation Sam Houston State student pursuing a career in teaching.
When not in the classroom or helping others, Smith enjoys dancing, spending time and traveling with her husband, Darron, their three children and grandchildren.
Details on upcoming commencement ceremony events can be found online at shsu.edu/graduation/.