LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Mike Smith

Position: Physical Education Teacher
School: Waiakea High School
School District: Hawaii Public Schools
City, State: Hilo , HI

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Mike Smith was nominated by an anonymous student.

Mr. Smith seems like your average physical education teacher. He comes to school early every day with a mug of coffee in one hand and the latest newspaper in another. He spends his days teaching high schoolers about the fundamentals of different sports and how to live an active lifestyle. Mr. Smith is a man who loves his students almost as much as his cup of coffee in the morning. 

However, Mr. Smith is much more than a high school physical education teacher. His teaching journey started when he taught elementary students in Oregon. The students loved him. On the last day of school, a few of the girls he taught came up to him crying because they were going to miss him and his teachings very much. Then, when he moved to Hawaii, Mr. Smith taught at a few schools, but finally settled at Waiakea High School, where he is a valued staff member.

"From the time I have known Mr. Smith, he has always pushed his students to the best of their abilities, whether it's in academics or in their respective sport," his nominator said. "When I was a sophomore attending his class, I was not the most athletic person in the room, but Mr. Smith pushed me beyond my limits so that I got faster, stronger, and could think on my feet. He really influenced my life, and I always see him encouraging the other students to go the extra mile, figuratively and literally."

Aside from being an amazing teacher, Mr. Smith is also head of the athletics department at Waiakea High School. Without fail, you can see Mr. Smith at almost every football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball game. He is always there to cheer on the students and make sure the facilities are still in good condition after a game. Even during school, if he sees a player from the previous day's game, he always approaches them to say “you guys kicked butt last night” or “better luck next time, you guys can do it." Mr. Smith acknowledges that not every game has to be won. He always emphasizes that “things happen for a reason,” and in order to win, you need to lose first.  

"I have known Mr.Smith for only two years, but he has taught me a lot from being my 10th grade P.E. teacher to my senior project mentor," his nominator said. "Over the past five months of Mr. Smith being my mentor, I have learned a lot about his life, how to stay calm in stressful situations, and how big of an impact he has on others. He has been the Healthy Keiki Fun Run mentor for 14 years, and I was able to work with him and get to know his charismatic personality and witty humor."

"Mr. Smith is like my dad," said the nominator. "I would eat lunch with him and his student teacher almost every day. We would talk about our day or even the avocados growing on Mr. Smith’s tree. He truly has a heart of gold. He would buy my co-chair and I lunch every time we had to run errands for the fun run. Mr. Smith pushed me to get out of my comfort zone by giving me opportunities to speak to community members and staff at Waiakea High School. Through all of this, Mr. Smith was always able to show his morals of honesty, hard work, and respect. Every time, without fail, he would always tell us the truth because he wanted our senior project to be the best. He would always emphasize the importance of work. Whenever one of us slacked off, he would 'put us in line' and tell us that if we wanted a successful project, we needed to work on it, not him. Mr. Smith genuinely loves his job and the students he sees every day."

Comments (1)

Crystal Doi Posted over a year ago

I am a huge P.E. advocate and aspire to maybe a a physical education teacher one day because I feel that it so important! We need more PE teachers like you! Awesome job!