It took Smith nine years of perseverance through attending night classes, missing time with her three children, and nearly quitting school multiple times amid the tragic loss of her mother and sisters, but she earned a bachelor's degree in 2010 that made her a certified teacher.
Wanda Smith's dream had always been to be a teacher, but she had to put that on hold after graduating high school to take care of her mother and provide for her family.
Smith worked long hours as a bus monitor and custodian for the Brenham Independent School District in Texas, but she never let go of the hope that one day she would be leading a classroom.
Per TODAY, Wanda Smith worked hard with two full-time jobs for the Brenham Independent School District in Texas - working from 6:00 am as a bus monitor in the morning and then from 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm as a janitor in the evenings.
At her lowest point, Smith says: "My husband, he sat me down, and he let me know that I wasn't the only one that made sacrifices. And so I was like: 'OK, I can do this. I can keep going'."
It took nine years of perseverance through attending night classes, missing time with her three children, and nearly quitting school multiple times amid the tragic loss of her mother and sisters, but she earned a bachelor's degree from Sam Houston State University in 2010 that made her a certified teacher.
Smith then returned to Brenham Elementary School as a first-grade teacher at the school where she had once worked as the custodian.
"When I stand in front of my classroom, I am living my dream," she told Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY Tuesday.
On May 11, Dr. Alisa White, the president of Sam Houston State, announced that the district will be offering a $500 scholarship in Smith's name in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.
The Wanda Smith Make a Difference Scholarship will now be awarded to any first-generation Sam Houston State student who wants to pursue a career in teaching.
Commenting on her achievement in an interview with TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager, Smith said: "When I stand in front of my classroom, I am living my dream."
That honor was followed by Brenham mayor Milton Tate Jr. declaring Tuesday "Be the Best You Can Be" Wanda Smith Day in honor of one of Smith's favorite phrases.
"Wanda, you're not just an inspiration to your students, but also our community," Tate Jr. said.
"Oh my God, I got a day," Smith said as she dabbed tears.
Article Source: vt.co