Mike Smith Comes to P-CEP

Sangana Sathrasala and Gagana Borra

You’ve heard about the videos. You’ve seen the sock drive bins. And this Friday, you get to see the man behind it all: Mike Smith.

Who is Mike Smith? According to his website, he founded “Skate For Change (SFC), a full 501-c3 non-profit organization dedicated to youth empowerment through skateboarding and helping our communities through action.”  As you have seen through his videos, he is also a motivational speaker.

“The way he delivers his message is simple, yet captivating. He is able to grab your attention and by the end, you feel like you could be best friends with him. So much of the stuff he talks about is about being yourself, and don’t let others bother you with their negativity and doubt,” said Canton Congress adviser Nicholas Fotiu.

Fotiu isn’t the only one who wanted Smith to visit. In fact, Mike Smith was booked until 2019.

“I had a contact from our Josten’s representative (that does your graduation announcements and cap/gowns) that said that Mike loves working with large audiences. What larger school audience than P-CEP! After talking with his agent and discussing how P-CEP works, he was excited about the opportunity and we were able to just squeeze him in,” said Fotiu.

A significant part of his organization is aimed towards helping those who are less fortunate by collecting and donating essential supplies, like socks. Thus, our school-wide sock drive organized by all three Congresses.

While Congress has been trying to advertise donation bins located around the school to reach a goal of 6,000 pairs of socks, school-wide participation has been very low. “We are extending the drive all the way into February. We have also decided (through the advice of Mike Smith) that we are going to personally deliver these socks to shelters and those in need right here in metro Detroit, both in the suburbs and downtown,” said Fotiu.

Canton senior Neha Ray said, “I think it is a great cause, but I just did not know where to donate.” If you would like to donate, there are several bins located around the school.

Another aspect in preparation for Mike Smith’s assembly is teachers being encouraged to show their students Smith’s motivational videos twice a week. However, some teachers have not even shown them, leaving students confused about who Smith is.

Hannah George, Salem senior, said, “I’ve been trying to figure out who Mike Smith is. I never saw his videos before.”

Among those who have seen the videos, there have been mixed reviews.

Sneha Yarlagadda, Salem senior, said, “I like what he’s doing for people in need, and he is very inspirational. I am excited to see what he has to say in person.”

On the other hand, Plymouth senior Nitya Deshpande said, “ “I think he has some good points, but I’m not sure he does a good job making real world connections, things that his audience can connect to and understand.”

Ray agreed. “His videos are inspirational to an extent. I can see what points he is trying to make and how they can help high school students, but it hasn’t made an impact on my thinking,” she said.