Sofia Mitalas, and her teacher, Kristen Smith
Sofia Mitalas, (l) and her teacher, Kristen Smith

Summit Atlas freshman, Sofia Mitalas, wanted to do something to recognize the impact her teachers have had on her. She was particularly inspired by her Algebra teacher, Kristen Smith’s dedication and commitment to her students. Ms. Smith is also an advisor for the Atlas Action Alliance, a club focused on combating climate change—of which Sofia is a member.

In February, Sofia nominated Ms. Smith for the Association of Washington Student Leaders’ Spotlight Award. The award recognizes educators for their dedication and commitment to engaging and empowering students.

Sofia had this to say about why she nominated Ms. Smith, “…she always asks each student what they think, and although she is technically the leader of the club, she encourages the students to be in charge, while helping from the sides for the most part. It is clear that she cares about the success of her students each day as they learn and grow together.”

On a recent Friday morning, the entire school gathered to surprise Ms. Smith—who was unaware of the nomination. Sofia presented the award to her stunned teacher, sharing a few words about why she is so important to her and the school community.

“Ms. Smith is a mentor for students and an advocate for student voice from her classroom to her school clubs,” said Sofia. “As the advisor for the Atlas Action Alliance, she asks what students want to learn and connects with outside organizations to help bring desired content in.”

Reflecting on teachers like Kristen Smith and how they contribute to the Summit community, Sofia concluded, “Ms. Smith makes sure that each student always has a place where they can ask for help and learn how to grow in our community.”

We couldn’t be more proud of our amazing teachers like Kristen Smith, whose passion and dedication to student empowerment and growth is limitless. Thank you, Sofia, for this wonderful tribute.