Social Studies teacher Mark Smith leaves his legacy at TJ.
Mark Smith has been teaching for 27 years and has been a social studies teacher at TJ for the past 18 years. Smith teaches Civics and United States History, coaches the girls’ golf team, and assists coaching the boys’ golf team. Since he always wanted to work in education, he decided to become a teacher. “I enjoy working with kids and coaching, so I was always interested in teaching,” Smith explained.
Smith grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and moved to New Jersey during high school. He started college at Glassboro State University then transferred to West Chester State College before taking a break from school and moving to Colorado. He later attended Metropolitan State University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in History and then went on to the University of Denver, where he received his post Bachelor’s degree, also in History. When Smith is not teaching, he enjoys golfing and traveling.
Since coming to TJ, Smith has made a great impact on the school. “He really cares about what he is teaching and wants his students to learn. He gets us to actually think about the concepts he is teaching and has conversations with us about it. He may say otherwise but we all know he loves us,” mentioned junior Gracey Jarecke, who has been coached by Smith for the past two years and is a student in his Civics class. After 18 years, Smith has made the difficult decision to retire, and will be missed dearly by all Spartans. “I have learned a lot from Smith during the past few years, during golf and during school, but the most important thing he taught me is to have a good time. He is always telling us that whatever we do, we should have fun doing it,” Jarecke described. Smith is sad to be leaving TJ, but is excited move on to a new stage in his life. “I think I will miss the interaction with the students and my co-workers the most,” Smith said. He will also miss the atmosphere that TJ has created and how everyone is so close in the community.
After retiring, Smith plans to travel and play golf. He will be traveling to South Africa next summer and plans to go on a safari. He is also excited to be able to sleep in, since he no longer has to wake up early, and has a goal to get in shape. Even though Smith will no longer be a teacher at TJ, he will remain connected to the TJ community. He has decided to continue coaching the golf teams at TJ, so he will still be able to keep in contact with his former Spartans. Since Smith will not need someone to cover his classes, it will be easy for him to coach golf. His golf team is excited that he will still be coaching. “I am excited for him to teach me more about the sport,” sophomore and girls’ golfer Lucy LoJacono disclosed. This will allow Smith to continue to build relationships with students and connect with present and future Spartans.
Smith has made a huge impact on the TJ community throughout the many years he has dedicated to the school. He is able to joke around with his students and create an environment where they can enjoy learning. He will be missed by his students and co-workers alike. There is no doubt that Smith’s legacy will be remembered by many Spartans.