This Pirate loves
helping children in need.
Lucretia Smith is ready to start her career as an elementary
As a child, Lucretia Smith’s favorite game was playing school with her two sisters, and she was always the teacher.
“Teaching is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Smith, whose grandmother predicted her future career path. “I love kids. If there’s a child in need, I am there to the rescue.”
She’s been preparing herself ever since second grade, when she started working with children with disabilities. “I really enjoyed helping the special education teachers,” said Smith.
“By spending time with those students, it taught me that not all people are alike. I treasured helping those who were not able to do the same things that I could.”
Since then, Smith has been an active volunteer and dedicates her spare time to helping both children and adults with disabilities through the Greenville Special Olympics. She has also tutored at the Little Willie Center and been a club leader at the Boys and Girls Club.
“It is very hard for me to back down from doing volunteer or service work because I like giving my time to make someone smile,” she said.
East Carolina University will award Smith with her degree in elementary education on Dec. 19, but one crucial test almost forced her to switch her major.
“It took me a long time to pass the Praxis, which is a test that all education majors have to take,” said Smith. “I was always just two or three points away from passing with the required score of 522.”
But this didn’t hold Smith back for long. After encouragement from her father and advisor, Paige Everett, she persevered. Smith took the test for the final time and passed with a score of 523. “It only takes one point,” she said.
Smith is completing her senior internship in a fifth grade classroom in Greene County, where she spends over eight hours a day teaching English, language arts, math, science and social studies.
After graduation, Smith plans to start teaching right away. With already two elementary school teaching job offers and more interviews lined up, she is anxious to teach in her own classroom. “I’m ready to spread my wings,” she said.
Why did you choose ECU?
I was at North Carolina Central University, but I wasn’t happy there. I heard great things about the College of Education at ECU, so I transferred here, and I made a great choice because the Pirate life has been the life for me, and I’m excited to be alumna soon.
How has ECU prepared you for your future?
ECU’s College of Education built me into a great teacher, but my experience here has not only prepared me for my career as an educator, it also prepared me for life outside of my career.
I learned a lot about myself during my years in college and faced challenges that I never thought I would face. Because of this, I have become more confident, and I am sure that my passion and talent in education, combined with my confidence, will bring me success in the future.
What is the best and worst thing about graduating?
The best part about graduating is that from all of these years of being a Pirate, I finally get to show the world what kind of educator ECU has made me.
The worst thing about graduating is that, in some ways, I am afraid of being in the real world; everything is about to change. I’m sad about leaving my internship. I’ve grown to love those kids, and they ask me every day, “Ms. Smith, when’s your last day?” It’s coming soon, and I know we’re going to miss each other in January. I’m also going to miss all of the great people I’ve met here.
Besides your diploma, what did you gain from your time at ECU?
I have gained lifelong friendships, wisdom and knowledge, leadership roles, professionalism, time management and a bond with every professor I’ve had. I’ve gained elegance from being in pageants here and have grown into a woman, and not just the immature kid I was when I came here.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
Choose your major wisely and do not procrastinate during your time in college. The faster you realize that you came to ECU for a reason, the quicker you will relax and be able to learn.
It took me a whole semester to get over the “impostor syndrome.” I kept asking myself, “Why am I here? Why me? Do I have what it takes to cut it? What if I fooled them on paper?”
I was so concerned about this, and it impossible to learn anything because I was stressing out so much.
Photography by: Cliff Hollis
Written by: Grace Haskin
Major: Elementary Education
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Hobbies & Interests: Tutoring, mentoring, shopping, modeling, striving, teaching, singing, pageantry and basketball
Clubs & Organizations: Kappa Upsilon chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, Black Student Union, African Students Organization, Student North Carolina Association of Educators, Elementary Education Club, National Society of Leadership and Success, Student Leadership and Involvement and coordinator of Motivating Youth Towards Excellence
Hangout: Being with people that I love and being around nothing but positive energy - whether it is at a restaurant, bar, library, club or home.
Place on Campus: I do not have one because wherever I am, I am working or socializing.
Place to Eat: Anywhere that has great steak
Class: Any of the elementary education courses because I got to interact with kids.
TV Show: American Horror Story, Martin and anything funny, scary and weird
Musician/band: I enjoy all music.
Movie: The Hangover and Hunger Games series
Most Influential Professor: Dawn Shelton, who teaches elementary education classes
Dream Job: A superintendent or high fashion model
You Can’t Live Without: Internet and food
Role Model: My grandmother, who stepped in to help my father raise three girls, who are all divas, after the death of my mother.
Words to Live By: You live, you learn and life goes on
Advice to Fellow Students: Never stop something once you have started.
What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? Being an ECU Pirate is such a great thing in and outside of the city limits. We are known for such great things.
“Choose your major wisely and do not procrastinate during your time in college. The faster you realize that you came to ECU for a reason, the quicker you will relax and be able to learn. ”
– Lucretia Smith