With steady dedication to her studies and to her 6-year-old son Jude, Alita Smith shows strength in every endeavor she pursues. After two decades of work in the hospitality industry, Alita took the leap and decided to pursue her lifelong dream of being an educator by studying at CU Boulder after moving from Baltimore, Md. She is graduating from CU Boulder this May with a degree in English paired with the Secondary Humanities Teacher Licensure.
Learn about what drives Alita’s passion for education and what she hopes to do next:
Why did you choose the CU Boulder School of Education?
My mother is the director of the Heritage Center Alumni Museum at CU Boulder, so it was an easy choice. The School of Education provides a social justice lens for future educators and that stance was one that I thought was just as important as learning practice and lesson planning.
What continues to drive your passion for education now?
I am most interested in communicating to all students that they have worth and value that extends inside and outside of classrooms and schools. Populations of students who have historically felt undervalued in our education system deserve to be empowered and valued. I believe that it is the teacher's responsibility to actively dismantle the structures that have traditionally limited access for certain groups of students. All children deserve access to success in our schools.
What is next after graduation?
My amazing son Jude is six years old and has a rare cerebral vascular disease and special medical needs. We recently learned that he will need another brain surgery this summer, so for now, I am setting aside this next year to spend time with him and help him recover. I am currently working at Boulder Day Nursery School, the same early child care center that my son once attended. They are very supportive and flexible and allow me to attend the many appointments that his diagnoses generate. Eventually, I would like to work as a liaison between the school systems and hospitals and rehab centers, working with children who have chronic and terminal diseases or elongated hospital stays.
What’s your advice for incoming students?
Be open for all that you will learn. And, be kind to yourself!