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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Young woman becomes a teacher at the same school she worked as a cleaner, fulfills lifelong dream

A young woman named Wanda Smith has fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a teacher, She became a certified teacher at the same school where she once worked as a cleaner.

Wanda’s dream had always been to be a teacher, but she had to put that on hold after graduating high school to take care of her mother and provide for her family according to Today..

She began her career as a staff member with the Brenham Independent School District, working from 6 a.m. as a bus monitor, then 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. as a custodian. Despite having a busy schedule, she still had it in mind to go back to school.

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“My plans were to go straight into college, but then my mother got sick and so those dreams had to be deferred and I just got a job and started providing for the family,” she said.



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“And sometimes I didn’t get to sleep because if mom needed to go to the doctor, I’d just get off and do what I had to do. And I never really thought about it. I just did it because it had to be done,” she added.

With encouragement from her husband and family, Wanda decided to return to school. She enrolled to pursue her associate’s degree at Blinn College, Brenham, and graduated at the age of 37.

A year after completing her associate degree, she decided to further at Sam House Houston State Universiy where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and Teaching. 


Wanda said the nine-year academic journey was one of perseverance through attending night classes, missing time with her three children, and nearly quitting school multiple times amid the tragic loss of her mother and sisters but she pushed through to become a certified teacher.

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She mentioned that the death of her mother and two sisters died almost made her quit school as she was very close to all three of them and they were her support system.

“My sister would be the one I would talk to at night when I was coming home. Then when I lost her, that took a lot out of me. It took a lot out. And yes, I did want to stop,” Wanda said.

”But then my husband, he sat me down, and he let me know that I wasn’t the only one that made sacrifices. And so I was like, ‘Ok, I can do this. I can keep going,” she added.

Earning her teaching certificate, Wanda then returned to Brenham Elementary School as a first-grade teacher at the school where she had once worked as the custodian.

She was recognized by the school during the Teachers Appreciation Week for the kindness, hard work, and perseverance that she has shown throughout the years, from her starting position as a custodian through her current position as a first-grade educator.

The president of Sam Houston State University also surprised Wanda with a $500 scholarship in her name. The Wanda Smith Make a Difference Scholarship will go to a first-generation Sam Houston State student who wants to pursue a career in teaching.

Wanda stated that she hopes her story will inspire her students to develop a love for education like she did, and pursue it to the fullest extent.


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