Troubled Youth Rises Above

Mr. Smith

McKenna Moeinvaziri, Writer

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From a glance, maybe you’d expect just another ordinary person, a couple of exciting stories and experiences, and possibly a bit more.

Looking further, maybe one could make a quick assumption and maybe even drop a stereotype.

After an interview with Ms. Hogan’s student teacher, John Smith, who’s been said to look like a lowkey hipster that could be seen at the bookstore with coffee in hand, that idea might need to be taken away quickly.

Born and raised in Utah on the shortest day of the year (the winter solstice!), life from the beginning was already setting itself up to be pretty interesting. Coming from a family with five kids far from angelic, childhood was something filled with memories to look back on.

One of these said adventures was sleeping in the ER waiting room with two friends after a failed meetup with someone from the Avenues. With three 13-year-old boys all making plans to drop by somebody’s house, all of them went wrong saying “I’m staying at ____’s house for the night.” They had nowhere to sleep the night when the plan failed, so they chose to sleep in the ER waiting room.

Of course they thought to go to one of their own homes but…”I said I was going to your house, we can’t ask me!” Thus, they spent the night there with the backup excuse of “We’re waiting on somebody in the ER, we’re totally not staying the night or anything haha no :)).”

When talking about school life and times being older, things didn’t sound to be the smoothest. John was expelled from junior high and dropped out of high school twice, then attended the University of Utah for his undergraduate degree, but went for seven years to complete it.

Due to various reasons, he came and went every other semester, but ultimately completed undergrad and continued onwards to graduate, where he’s currently attending Westminster for a masters degree.

During the undergrad years, John spent that time traveling all over the globe and pursuing work. Even after all the traveling, he chooses Utah as his favorite place to have been in, since, “Everywhere looks like Utah.”

What really kept him motivated to finish undergrad without dropping out was that he had a child with his wife, which kept him “staying dedicated to the cause.”

While attending school for a master’s degree, he’s here at Murray High teaching photography, but student teaching history since student teaching photography doesn’t seem to be an option. “It’s complicated,” was all he could tell me when I further asked about that situation. Aside from the student teaching complications, choosing to teach high school was less complicated.

Since students around this age are still relatable enough to communicate, it’s not too hard to get along and work well with kids around this age. In addition, he mentioned that he wanted to be able to us help high school students get through this “awful phase of life.”

After everything, having someone that gets along with students around this age and can relate to things we’re stuck dealing with, the kids that have him as a teacher will really pull through school with a little less worry on their backs.


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