Homecoming speaker fires up students
“What do you want to be remembered for?”
That was the question inspirational speaker Mike Smith had for Douglas High School students Thursday. Smith spoke at the school as part of this week’s winter homecoming festivities.
Growing up in a small town in Imperial, Neb., Smith said he had a 2.4 GPA, was a bit of a troublemaker and fell in with the cliques at his high school.
“When I moved to that small town I was asked whether I hunt or play sports. I didn’t do either,” said Smith. “The only thing I cared about was skateboarding and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I found myself asking, do I do what they do or what I do?”
He ended up joining the high school basketball team and found himself achieving instant stardom, he said.
“I took everything I learned from skateboarding and put it into sports,” said Smith. “I was a four sport star athlete and literally thought I was better than everyone else.”
Smith said during his senior year of high school everything changed when he discovered his father had cancer. Smith said he wondered if his dad was proud of him.
“I kept asking myself, is this the man my father would be proud of, is this what he wants to leave behind?” Smith said.
Smith said he noticed how selfish and arrogant he had become and realized that being ordinary was a choice. He said from that point on he began to believe that anything was possible and with hard work and dedication he could turn his life into something extraordinary.
He is now a professional speaker who encourages young people to pursue their passions and live out their dreams.
“I call myself a professional teenager,” said Smith. “I fell in love with the idea that my life was suppose to be an adventure and that’s how I intend to live it.”
Smith’s youthful persona seemed to capture the students’ interest, and after the presentation many students stayed to take pictures, seek advice or get his signature.
Sophomore Riana Testa wanted to know how someone can separate themself from the negativity that often surrounds them.
“He responded with a quote his coach told him,” said Testa. “‘Show me your friends and I will show you your future.’ Basically, he said to get those negative people and things out of your life and only surround yourself with people who will bring you up and to disconnect from all the negativity that brings you down.”
Sophomore Ty Shirley wanted Smith to sign his sketchbook so he could see it and be inspired when he needed it most.
“I look at my sketchbook a lot so I know I will feel inspired when I need something to boost me up,” said Shirley.
Many of the students said Smith was an inspiration and his presentation changed the way they look at the situations they find themselves in and the people they surround themselves with.
“It was basically about not following the crowd,” said Shirley. “There is no point in following the crowd and complaining, you have to make your own path.”
According to mikesmithlive.com, Smith is the founder of The Bay, a youth outreach center and one of the few non-profit skate parks in the country, as well as Skate for Change, a youth movement that empowers skateboarders to give back to the homeless in the their communities.
“Helping others happens when no one else is looking,” he said. “You have to make a habit every day to stand up for someone or something. Those are the people who make a difference.”
For more information on Mike Smith visit http://www.mikesmithlive.com