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Riverview teacher honored by Gov. Scott for her life of service and contribution

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image Collins Elementary School fourth-grade teacher and one of seven recipients statewide of Gov. Rick Scott’s Shine Award, Regenia Smith is surrounded by her students, cheering for her well-deserved recognition. Mitch Traphagen Photo

Regenia Smith, US Marine Corps, Hillsborough County, Collins Elementary School...a life of service.

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

When she received the phone call, Regenia Smith, a former US Marine and a teacher at Collins Elementary School in Riverview, thought someone was playing a joke on her.
Regenia Smith has served for her entire life. She served her nation, retiring after 21 years of active duty service with the US Marine Corps, and today she continues to serve both her community and nation in helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders as a teacher.

“I’ve always wanted to teach,” Smith said. “Once I knew I was going to retire, I knew this is what I was going to do. This is not about a job, it’s not about the money, it is about making a difference. There are always days, but overall it is fun. Especially those days when you can see it in the eyes of the children. Making a difference, whether it is little or not, is the feeling.”

Although to Smith, educating and helping the children is all the reward and recognition she needs, Gov. Rick Scott recently recognized her as well. It was a recognition well-deserved.

The governor’s office said in a press release:

During a recent meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Gov. Rick Scott recognized seven educators who formerly served in various branches of the military with the Governor’s Shine Award for their service to our country and their contributions to Florida’s students.

Scott said, “Recognizing the men and women who have not only served our country, but are now also teaching Florida students, is a tremendous honor. Florida’s education system continues to succeed because of the dedication of educators like these. I want to thank these teachers for their dedicated service both to our country and our classrooms.”

The Shine Award is presented to Floridians who have positively impacted children through education.

Regenia Smith, US Marine Corps, Hillsborough County, Collins Elementary School – Smith retired from the United States Marine Corps after 21 years of active duty service. After retirement she fulfilled her longtime dream of becoming an educator and received a Master of Education Leadership degree from Strayer University. Her teaching career began three years ago after being a substitute teacher for four years. She currently teaches fourth grade at Collins Elementary in Riverview. The philosophy for her students is “student success through academic achievement.”

Congratulations, Ms. Smith, and thank you for your service in all the forms you have so selflessly chosen.

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