By CARLA MEYER
A Wapakoneta City Schools faculty member comes from a long line of teachers.
Wapakoneta Middle School science teacher Bart Smith has graded his last test, taught his last lesson and has packed up his classroom, as he recently retired from the school district.
Smith’s mother and grandmother also dedicated their careers to teaching.
“My mom was a Spanish teacher here, and she taught Spanish at the high school,” Smith said. “She used to run the Pepsi stand for the Spanish Club at the (Auglaize County) fair, and I helped her do that when I was a kid.”
When Smith, who is a 1977 graduate of The Ohio State University, began his teaching career years ago, he noticed that he has picked up some of his mother’s characteristics, including getting along with students.
“At a Board of Education meeting, (School Superintendent) Keith Horner said it was unique that I got along with kids that were hard to get along with,” Smith said. “That was also one of my mom’s characteristics.”
As far as his students, Smith said he had the opportunity to teach a lot of great kids.
“The kids kept me young,” the 1972 graduate of Wapakoneta High School said.
Smith started out his career teaching sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grades at Ottawa-Glandorf Local Schools for 14 years, before coming back to his hometown of Wapakoneta and finishing up his teaching career before retiring.
One of Smith’s favorite parts of teaching was getting the opportunity to coach sports.
During his career, he has coached football, track, basketball and volleyball.
“I was the head track coach for a number of years, and I coached football at every level,” Smith said.
With coaching, Smith had the chance to get to know students outside of the classroom.
“With coaching, there is a little different relationship,” Smith said. “You get a little closer to people because of how much time you spend with them. It’s a really fun part of the profession.”
The Wapakoneta Middle School recently held a retirement party for Smith, where the theme was “Disney World.”
“He really likes Disney World,” his wife, Elisha Smith, said.
She also is a teacher.
“We went down there six times as a family,” Bart Smith said. “It started when the girls were six- and nine-years-old. And the last time was last year.”
The Smiths’ daughters, Andrea, 24, and Emily, 21, are both attending college, with their older daughter planning to get married this spring.
“I know I’ll have lists from my daughter and wife,” Smith said, with a laugh, on what he plans to do after retirement.
Smith has enjoyed all of his years teaching, and has many fond memories.
“It was a lot of fun,” Smith said. “I very much enjoyed the people I worked with. I know I will end up missing it.”