Alayna Smith

Destiny Allstead, Staff Writer

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Open-minded, optimistic, active, dependable, and adventurous. These are some words used to describe Alayna Smith, the new art teacher. Growing up in Portage, Smith did not always want to be a teacher. For her previous job, she decorated cakes. Her mother, Laura Wiercioch, is a middle school math teacher and her father, Steven Smith, is a College professor. Influenced by her parents, Smith attended college at Michigan State to become an art teacher and later student taught in Grand Rapids. She explained the benefits of art: “I think art is important to students because of the open, creative nature of an art classroom. It’s an ideal setting for imagination, problem solving, constructing, reflecting, and intrinsic motivation. Additionally, art exposes people to diverse cultures, viewpoints, backgrounds, and allows for us to have a greater respect and understanding of one another,” Smith said.

Outside of school Smith loves to stay occupied. She rock climbs at least two to three times a week. She also enjoys running, biking, and cake decorating. Overall Smith is a positive, nice, and busy woman. She has no children, nor a husband, devoting her time to her students and art. She describes one of her most rewarding moments, “…Seeing one of my students get into her dream art school on a full ride scholarship. But there are rewarding moments every single day, so it’s hard to just choose one.”

Coming into a new school typically can be a scary and nerve-wracking experience, but TRHS is not your typical school. Miss Smith stated, “The staff is super welcoming and friendly.” They would repeatedly come and check up on her. Unlike many art teachers, Smith said, “I like to offer a lot of student choice… so they have some freedom.” She advises her students, “Keep an open mind… you will grow more as an artist than you think.” She also would like to say, “That I know they(students) have great potential and will improve tremendously with effort and perseverance – you have to start somewhere. Also that it’s not about being good at everything. I am stoked when someone finds one area of art that they love.”

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Alayna Smith