Smith Extends Her Influence Beyond the Classroom



Mrs. Smith describes an upcoming lab experiment to her first period AP Biology Class. Mrs. Smith’s students remember her long after taking her class, regularly stopping by to check in. “She’s really nice and incredibly easy to talk to. She never made me feel dumb if I didn’t understand something,” said sophomore Pranati Pradeep.

Nandini Dasari and Tina Luo

As the school bell rings at 3:35, several students head to Mrs. Sonya Smith’s classroom to chat, work, and relax after a long day at school. An AP Biology teacher, Mrs. Smith forms lasting relationships with her students and connects with them on a personal level. She expresses her passion for science and attracts the interest of even the most hesitant students, tailoring her approach to accommodate the needs of each individual. 

“She understands what we’re going through and gives really great advice, so if you need to talk to her about anything she’ll be there for you,” said senior Jennifer Chung.

The welcoming atmosphere in Mrs. Smith’s class allows students from all grade levels to connect with one another, fostering a special energy in the classroom. Even former students still reminisce about their days in Ms. Smith’s biology class, continuing to appreciate all that she has done for them. 

“I met her in 9th grade and went to her after school for tutoring,” said junior Teja Vemulapalli. “It wasn’t until recently that we’d go into her room after school and basically talk about all of our life concerns to her. She would sit there and listen, which was really nice.”

Mrs. Smith consistently engages students and maintains an active role throughout their learning process. Along with checking for understanding during instruction, she assists students on assignments and labs and offers tutorials before and after school. 

“She’s very good at making very complex processes simple, and she uses a lot of analogies, which is very helpful for someone who is new to AP classes,” said Vemulapalli.

Like all dedicated teachers, Mrs. Smith focuses on preparing students academically by developing their understanding of the course material. However, her students gain more than just knowledge; they also make worthwhile memories. Sophomore Natasha Patel recalls her interest in a virtual photosynthesis lab last year in Mrs. Smith’s AP Biology class.

“The algae beads were fun! We learned how to use lab tools and got to physically see changes in algae bead colors. We got to go outside and perform the experiments, which was a change, since most of us were virtually learning,” said Patel.

Truly a one of a kind teacher, Mrs. Smith creates an environment in which students can be successful, impacting all who enter her classroom in doing so. 

“If you have Mrs. Smith for AP Bio, get to know her and form a good relationship with her,” suggests Chung. “She is fantastic.”