By Allison Miller
On the ninth of January, 2018, a speaker named Michael Smith made an appearance at Tri-City Prep. He spoke to the kids that day with more than one intention, and many of the kids believed him to be one of the best speakers they’d seen. He shared his story with all of the students there with hopes to inspire them to work hard and do the things they say they will, of course, but also to be able to look outside of their own little bubbles and take interest in helping those around them with pure intentions.
Michael Smith told students that even he doesn’t know what his job is. He said that every year on his taxes he writes ‘Professional Teenager’. As odd as it seems, that’s what most of his audiences would consider him to be. He’s just the right age to be able to relate to current high schoolers, and with his interest in skateboarding, his audience only finds him more relatable. One of the things that make him seem like such an inspirational person is that he doesn’t define himself by a job. He defines himself as a person who helps others by way of things that he enjoys.
That was the way he presented himself to all of the kids: as someone who used to be very flawed, but woke up and realized that he couldn’t sit around and only care about himself forever. He chooses to do the things he think will positively affect the needy around him, instead of saying that he will and giving up halfway through. One of his main messages to his audience is that setting your mind to something and actually following through with it is one of the best skills one must learn if they want to change the world in the slightest.
Smith shared how the mistakes he made in high school only came to his attention right before his senior year. He had one year to change how his entire school viewed him. That doesn’t seem like much time, but he did it. He decided that he wouldn’t be remembered by his misdoings. Once he decided so, he made sure to carry through on his promises.
This is something all people today should learn, whether it be young children, high school level teens, or their parents. If one says they want to do something, they need to do more than wish about it and actually achieve their goals through hard work.
Michael Smith shared with the students and teachers the many things he’s done (and plans to do) over his life: opening an indoor non-profit skating rink, skating from one end of America to the other, and opening his own high school, to name a few. Despite all of his achievements, however, Smith wants his audiences to pay even closer attention to the things and people that their achievements affect who aren’t in their immediate circles.
After listening to him speak about his experiences and work with the homeless and less fortunate, it’s easy to see that he is truly one of the good people on the planet. He said to the kids that day that if they were only doing volunteer work because they thought it looked better on a college application then people like him were most definitely not impressed. He explained how volunteering and taking time to help people is only truly helpful when it comes out of the goodness of one’s heart, and not for show and one’s own benefit. He told his audience that it made him angry so many high schoolers today don’t get involved in helping people without their parents forcing them or their look into the future of how assisting people could benefit them.
The biggest thing many took away from this presentation is one of the phrases Michael Smith first heard when he was the age of the majority of his audience: a high schooler. It makes sense that just a few words would impact the crowd as they were the same few words that changed his whole life around when he was in his junior year and cared only about sports and what his teammates were doing that night. These words meant the world to him and hopefully now mean the world to at least one of the people in the auditorium that Tuesday: kindness happens when no one is looking.
Michael Smith is an amazing speaker who is able to relate to his audience and stay grounded. When he speaks, he affects everyone in the room. Tricity Prep was lucky to have him come speak, and so would any other place be lucky.