Mr. Smith Tribute

Colette Methling, Editor

Many students have become familiar with the phrase “focus like a laser” echoing from Room 606, which has been occupied by Matt Smith for the past 30 years. A natural comedian and master of history lessons, Smith has been an educator since 1988. Although, he will sadly be retiring at the end of this school year, leaving students heartbroken. 

Shockingly, Smith was once a student too. Attending Hinckley-Big Rock High School, Smith was very involved, playing soccer, basketball and running track all four years. Not to mention, Smith graduated third in his class. What can’t this guy do? As college drew nearer, Smith decided that he would further his education in his passion; history. 

Choosing Northern Illinois University as his college; Smith graduated with a bachelor’s science degree in history and a minor in math. Moving on to bigger and better things, Smith got his first job at OHS and has worked here since. Smith has taught classes such as Geography, Math, World History, Minorities, U.S. History and American Government.

Becoming very involved in his early years of teaching, Smith was the freshmen boys basketball assistant coach for one year, the assistant soccer coach for nine years and the head coach for two years. Also, Smith coached the scholastic bowl team for 15 years. Smith successfully incorporated both sports and history into his job. 

Notorious for making lessons fun and engaging, students always enjoy Smith’s classes and enjoy their time with him. “Mr. Smith’s class was one of my favorites and he made class so fun,” senior Kate Kaufman said. 

Looking forward to retirement, Smith plans on sleeping in every day, as he hates the wretched awakening of an alarm clock and much prefers the singing of birds and pleasant sunlight to wake him from his slumber. Smith plans to spend time with his wife and two adopted children, who are now grown adults.

Having made an impact on several students’ lives, Smith leaves with many thanks. “Mr. Smith, thank you for going above and beyond to teach us the importance of history. I will always remember to focus like a laser. Congratulations on retirement,” senior Isabella Barrientos said. 

In the final home stretch, Smith prepares for his departure from OHS. I encourage students to visit his classroom and laugh at his jokes, “Although most of my students don’t get my jokes or do not appreciate my golden comedy, I am hilarious,” Smith said. Students will miss the sarcastic nature of Smith come the fall of 2021. 

A well-deserved break. Teaching at OHS for 33 years, Matt Smith is ready for what retirement has in store at the end of this school year. Mr. Smith will be greatly missed by all, but he doesn’t leave without a word of advice, “Don’t be a slacking slacker,” Smith said. (Colette Methling)