Name: Tori Smith
Hometown: Lyman, S.C.
Year in School: Senior
Major: Early Childhood Education
Often times the best teachers are the ones who enter the profession because they were inspired by one. When Tori Smith graduates from Coastal and is hired for her first teaching job, she will fall into this particular group. An early childhood education senior from Lyman, S.C., Tori had some great role models as a young student in her hometown.
“I had some teachers who influenced me and got me back on track,” Tori says. “That is why I want to become a teacher.”
But it is not just former teachers who inspire Tori. Since arriving at Coastal, she has spent a great deal of time helping those in need. A sister of Alpha Delta Pi, she served the sorority’s philanthropy director last academic year. In her role, she traveled back to Charlotte every other weekend to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House to provide assistance to the families staying there. These frequent trips made up just a small portion of the overall work she did for Ronald McDonald House Charities during her term as the philanthropy director.
Living each day by the motto of life is too short to be anything but happy, you can always find Tori with a smile on her face. It is easy to see that she will have a positive impact on the multitudes of students she will mentor over the course of her teaching career.
Speaking of her teaching career, she wouldn’t mind starting it and ending it right where her love for the profession blossomed – in Lyman. She wants to return to the same elementary school she attended and work the sane magic on her students that her past teachers worked on her. We hope nothing more than to see that scenario play out.
Q&A with Tori
How did you hear about Coastal?: Ever since I was in about the 5th grade my family has owned a beach house in the Myrtle Beach area. Every time we would travel to Myrtle Beach we would pass by Coastal on our way.
Why did you come to Coastal?: I chose to come to Coastal because it is my home away from home. Growing up almost every other weekend my family would travel to Myrtle Beach. Every time we would pass by on our way to our beach house I would look out the car window and say, “that is where I am going to go to college.” I knew that I did not want to stay at home to go to college, but I did want to go to a school where my family could not come and visit me often. Having a house not too far from Coastal, I knew that my parents would still be here almost every other weekend.
Favorite professor: In the education program I have had many influential professors. It is tough to choose just one. Each of their experiences in education has made an impact on my education as a future teacher. All in all, the education department has a well-rounded group of professors and staff who are always willing to help their students.
Favorite class: My favorite prerequisite course was World Religions. I am personally a Christian, but I really enjoyed learning about different religions around the world. The professor did not share his personal religion, nor did he force us to believe a certain way. Therefore, I feel that this class was a great way for me to be mindful of what others believe.
My favorite class within my major has been my Integrated Math, Science, and Social Studies course. This class helped me visualize ways that I can make learning meaningful for my future students. It gave me insight to activities that would be beneficial in teaching math, science and social studies. This course also provided ways the subjects can be integrated.
Favorite aspect of Coastal?: My favorite aspect of Coastal is the welcoming community. There are so many opportunities for students to get involved on campus. Including clubs, organizations, jobs, and more. There is something for everyone here at Coastal. The professors and staff are also very supportive of our education and goals for the campus. They want the best for us.
Favorite aspect of living in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area?: My favorite aspect of living in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area is that there are so many things to do. From going to the beach, shopping, attractions, or just a place to go and have lunch. This area has a lot of opportunities for all ages.
I also like that Conway/Myrtle Beach is my home away from home. My family is very close-knit. It is very important to me that this area is a place where my family can come and hang out and spend time together.
Clubs/Intramurals/other extracurricular activities involved in?: On campus I am a sister of Alpha Delta Pi. In the organization I serve as the director of social enrichment. I plan social events for our chapter throughout the semester. Last year, I served as the philanthropy chair. Our philanthropy is the Ronald McDonald House Charities. I think this is a wonderful organization that provides a home away from home for families with children in the hospital.
I am also a member of Kappa Delta Pi. This is an honors society for education majors. I do not currently hold a position. This is a great organization that gives back to the local school districts in the area.
I am a member of Golden Key International Honor Society and hold the position of service director. This organization also gives back to the local community.
Plans after graduation?: After graduation I hope to move back to my hometown and become an educator. My dream is to be a teacher at Holly Springs Elementary School, the elementary school that I attended as a young student. I hope to make an impact on my future students just as some of my teachers did for me.
What are your hobbies? Dancing- Growing up my life was dedicated to dance. I started dancing at the age of 3. I danced for 15 years. The types of dance I participated in included clogging and hip-hop. I took a little bit of Irish and Jazz. Being on stage is my favorite place to be. I feel that this is a place where I can truly express who I am and my feelings. I am a completely different person when I am on stage. Starting at about age 5, I started dancing on competition teams and as a soloist. I practiced three days a week if not more starting in the middle of the summer. During the spring semester we would frequently compete in state and national competitions.
Cheerleading - In high school I competed on our competition cheerleading team. I practiced tumbling and cheered on our football team every Friday night. Go Chapman Panthers!
Do you have any hidden talents?: No major hidden talents. My favorite talent is that I can dance. The funny thing is that I don’t dance much anymore, but I still carry around my clogging shoes in my car because one day I feel like I just might need them.
Bonus Info: I am a very family-oriented person. My family and I are very close. I am an only child and only grandchild on both sides of my family. My family has always supported me in everything that I do. Without them I would be lost. They always are in tow at every event that I have been involved in.
I graduated high school with perfect attendance. Ever since 1st grade I have not missed a day of school. My “nana” did the same and I always told her that I would do the same. Still to this day I never miss a day of class unless it is canceled. My education is very important to me and I know that to do my very best I must put in the effort to succeed.
My all-time favorite quote is, “Smile, life is too short to be anything, but happy!” I love this quote because for me being positive is the best outlook to have on life. I believe that if you smile others around you will begin to smile too and you never know when that one simple smile could make someone else’s whole day.
In 2014 I competed in the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant in Columbia, S.C. I held the title of Miss Chesnee Teen. Through this program I had the chance to support the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, be a mentor to my Palmetto Princesses and make many new friendships.