Arthur Smith, SBHS social studies teacher, shares a slice of his life, from working at Berdoo to his perspective on happiness.
Emjay Chhin: So, tell me how has it been working here lately?
Arthur Smith: Lately has been fantastic. I arrived one week late in starting school this year. So the first month or so I felt like I was behind a little bit. However, we’ve caught up now and so everything’s good now.
EC: Okay. Do you like any of the kids here or dislike any of the kids here?
AS: Dislike? No. I wish some of them would give a little bit more effort, but I’m sure every teacher says that. But 99.9% of my students, I love them.
EC: Okay, so now, tell me about the happiest moment of your life.
AS: Happiest moments of my life. Wow. I grew up in San Pedro, which is next to Long Beach. So I have a lot of fun memories. My elementary, middle school days we’re all just sort of full of history. And hence that’s why I may have gone down this road. But I grew up watching Navy ships come in. Ships coming in from Norway, from Greece, from all these things. So that really was my fun pastime when I was a kid growing up.
Let’s say high school was fun for me. I’m a bit of a nerd, but I was also somewhat of an athlete. I played baseball, track and field and football. But I had a good high school experience. I was lucky and had a broad range of friends So I got to dabble in a lot of stuff. I just wasn’t stuck in one segment of the student population.
University wise? It was always my dream to go to the University of Southern California since I was from the South Bay Area there in Los Angeles. It’s sort of like part of the culture, right? You root for one side or the other.I took a field trip in the fifth grade. I We took a field trip to the campus, and I was just mesmerized by the library and the way the students moved about campus, you know? Style is in at that time, you just are fixated on the bigger picture. And so that drove me. I just didn’t stop until I completed that. So without knowing I had started my bucket list at that young of age and I’m glad for it. All the results, networking capabilities, all of that was fantastic. That’s a personal time, I think for everybody for growth and coming to understand who you are. I don’t think anybody really does it until you’re out of high school. But once you start reaching out that way, and then everything else in life is God bless.
I haven’t experienced anything horrible except losing my grandparents. I don’t have any grandparents left and so that kind of sits wrong with me. The rest of it, I can’t complain, I’m blessed.
EC: So that was my second question. What is your greatest struggle? Would it be your grandparents or would it be another struggle that you had?
AS: Struggle wise? No. Missing them? Yes dearly. I had close relationships with all of them so I miss them dearly. And yeah, that’s something that you just I think you adjust with time. I am very fond of smells. I can still remember my grandmother’s hand cream, but it’s funny that I think of this. However, my grandfather’s hair products were right, the stuff he used to use. T He had a mustache, called Perez Florists, three flowers and I just recall that smell distinctly with him. He loves strawberry ice cream. hose kinds of details stick with you and the fonder you are of someone I think is like that.
As time goes on, I think you latch on to what’s more important. You have to live your life.
EC: That’s really touching… What does happiness mean to you?
AS: Happiness is derived from so many things. I was happy last night. I had a plate of enchiladas with a side of beans and salad. I was so happy. I got to watch the House of Dragon season finale on time, so nobody could spoil it for me. That was happiness. One thing the Dodgers crash out is not happiness. I am so happy I arrived on campus just before it starts to be that makes me happy. Like I’m here to feel it and that makes me happy. Yeah. Yeah, that’s this week. It’s been good.
EC: Yeah, you’re like one of the best teachers I’ve heard about.
AS: Thank you. I hope they get as much. I get a ton of stuff so I do really well. You notice my little tennis ball? Now some of my girls want to do one for a soccer ball, you know, when their soccer season is done. So that makes connections and that’s beautiful to me. I hold on dearly to that. Yeah, a lot of them have signed it. I still have a couple more to collect, but those are all my tennis players.