June 29, 2013

Citizen of the Week: Teresa Smith

The Daily Citizen

— It takes a special person to teach others how to take responsibility for both furry and non-furry creatures.

Park Creek fifth-grade teacher Teresa Smith worked throughout the past school year to help her students show kindness to both — to both animals and humans, that is.

On the first day of school last year, Smith set out a Pennies for Paws bucket to collect money for the Humane Society of Northwest Georgia. Students were challenged to contribute their pennies to the cause throughout the year. The year before, the class raised $102.86. The 2012-2013 class almost doubled that amount by collecting $200.85.

Smith told a Dalton Public Schools representative that kids “need to know to give back not only to people who are less fortunate, but to less fortunate animals as well.”

Her efforts certainly weren’t focused only on animals. When news of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last December reached her class, Smith wrote a poem about the tragedy and shared it with her students.

Then she led the class in a project to make snowflakes to brighten the returning students’ days. Yet because so many other schools throughout the country participated, Park Creek’s snowflakes never reached the Newton, Conn., school. So Smith had her class write handwritten letters to the students instead.

For her thoughtfulness and leadership, The Daily Citizen names Teresa Smith Citizen of the Week.