Talented student, teacher honored
By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- A Ring Lardner seventh grader is one of Michigan's 200 middle school students to be recognized for achieving the highest SAT or ACT test scores in this year's Midwest Talent Search.
That means Bobby Nash, who amongst other things plays the flute in Ring Lardner's seventh-grade band and is on the tennis team, will attend the 5th annual "Hats Off" luncheon for high-achieving talented students at Michigan State University on May 18.
However, Nash and the other 200 nominated students were asked by the luncheon organizers to write a tribute to the teacher who has had the greatest influence on their lives so far.
Nash, who for the last three years has taken advanced algebra classes over the Internet through Stanford University, Mass., had no doubts about the teacher he wanted to pay tribute to.
Although Nash said he has always been aware of his math skills, Smedley, who was the former director of the school district's no-longer existing Gifted and Talented Program, helped him realize that there are many other interesting subjects and ideas to think about, besides math.
He said if it hadn't been for Smedley, he also wouldn't be taking the advanced math classes he is currently pursuing at Stanford.
Smedley, who is honored to receive Nash's tribute, said she will attend the ceremony with her husband.
When asked what teachers should focus on, Smedley said a teacher should try to bring out the best in each student, as well as making them comfortable with their surroundings.
At least that has been one of her own goals during her over 30-year teaching career, 23 of which were spent teaching the school district's gifted and talented students.
She said one of her most important goals, however, has been to help, especially the gifted and talented students, to get to know themselves.
That was also one of the reasons why she took classes to learn more about how to teach gifted and talented students.
Having taken those classes, she realized that only providing gifted students with advanced work didn't provide them with everything they needed for a happy life.
"I wanted to get them to know themselves and their abilities, as well as making themselves feel good about those abilities," she said.