He has an internationally syndicated nutrition column thatâÄôs read from Bangladesh to Mexico, has written and illustrated countless books and has appeared on childrenâÄôs television shows, but when speaking to students at Helen Haller Elementary last week, Smith became emotional.
âÄúThis is my home school,âÄù Smith told the fifth-graders. âÄúI still have family here. Being here this week is one of my favorite memories.âÄù
Smith was born and raised in the city and attended Helen Haller Elementary, which at the time was Sequim Elementary School.
âÄúMy teacher was actually Mrs. Haller,âÄù Smith told the astonished students.
It was on the peninsula that Smith said he felt the first spark of love for writing and illustrating.
âÄúI used to watch âÄúThe Mickey Mouse ClubâÄù on our black-and-white television in first grade,âÄù Smith said. âÄúI used to love to watch Walt DisneyâÄôs brother Roy do his giant fast-action drawings of the Disney characters. ThatâÄôs when I knew I wanted to do that.âÄù
For that reason, Smith said he feels compelled to tour various schools and try to get the children excited about using their creativity.
The students, who already had met Smith in an assembly to kick off the Cougar-Wolf Writing Conference for both Helen Haller and Greywolf elementary schools, treated him as a celebrity, applauding enthusiastically when he entered the classroom.
âÄúThey love him,âÄù said Haller fifth-grade teacher Rachel Oden. âÄúTheyâÄôre very excited.âÄù
The week of Feb. 25 was filled with reading and especially writing for Sequim elementary students, including a visit from SeattleâÄôs Book-It Repertory Theatre and grade-appropriate writing activities.
Although he lives in Puyallup now, Smith stressed that a lot of his success is rooted on the Olympic Peninsula. As a child, Smith said he pored over the column âÄúHealth Capsules,âÄù written by a doctor, which appeared in the Port Angeles Evening News.
When the original cartoonist retired at the age of 92, United Features Syndicate asked Smith to take over as the writer and illustrator.
âÄúI would never have imagined that would happen when I was reading the column here in Sequim as a child,âÄù Smith said.
Most of all, Smith said, he hopes to inspire even one of the thousands of children he speaks to, just as he was inspired as a student.
âÄúI want you to go over the same bridge I went over and hold on âÄ¶ because when that creativity goes, most people donâÄôt get it back,âÄù he told the captivated students.
As the children left, excitedly chattering about Smith, he added, âÄúI hope they keep the excitement, I hope it lasts. If I get through to even one student in 1,000, then IâÄôll be happy.âÄù
For more information on SequimâÄôs own Bron Smith, visit www.bronsmith.com.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
For a complete company directory with contact information please click HERE.