BY: Michelle Liew
Hard work and perseverance can turn dreams into reality.
The idea was proven true for Wanda Smith, who always wanted to be a teacher and was finally able to realize her dream.
Life was not always easy for Wanda, who is a mother-of-three and also takes care of her mother.
To take care of her family, she took on jobs as a bus monitor and custodian for Brenham Independent School District in Texas.
Despite the long hours and heavy workload, she managed to attend nigh classes to further her studies. Wanda, 37, worked hard to achieve her dreams, with the support and encouragement from her husband.
After nine years, she finally graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Sam Houston State University and became a certified teacher.
As the icing on the cake, Wanda was hired as a first-grade teacher back at Brenham Elementary School. Unfortunately, her mother and sisters were not able to witness her accomplishment as they have passed away.
Despite that, she knew that they would have been proud of her.
“When I stand in front of my classroom, I am living my dream,” said Wanda during a TODAY show Teacher Appreciation Day segment with Jenna Bush Hager.
During the pandemic, some of her students struggled to meet the demands of distance learning, but Wanda was understanding and decided to make things easier for them. She took note that many of her students come from single-parent families and began to deliver packets of schoolwork to them at home.
Brenham’s mayor, Milton Tate Jr, who—using one of Smith’s own signature lines—officially declared May 4, 2021 as “Be the Best You Can Be” Wanda Smith Day.
What a lesson is perseverance!