Mike Uncorked: John Smith Rides for Education!

Mike Uncorked: John Smith Rides for Education!

By Mike Butler

John Smith is a pretty familiar face to the Valley. I’ve known John for a few years and I’m so proud to have shared the stage with him about half a dozen times. He’s friendly, outgoing, family and community-minded, and a great friend (and co-star!) and John is part of a pretty awesome project that I want to share with you. But first a little bit about the man behind it:

John Howard Smith, proudly named for his two grandfathers, was born and raised in Nova Scotia. John joined the Canadian Armed Forces following High School and had a fifteen-year career in the Military Police. During his time in the forces he enjoyed postings in Nova Scotia and Ontario. John is an alumnus of Acadia, where he completed a B.A. in political science (’88), and later an M.Ed. in counselling (’08). While at university he met and later married his wife Beth (Happy 25th anniversary, by the way!) and they settled in Wolfville to raise their family.

John left the Armed Forces in ’95 and began a career working in post-secondary education, working 13 years as Equity Officer and Director of Safety and Security at Acadia.  He left the position in 2009 to work at the Nova Scotia Community College as Manager of Student Services and he’s currently in that role at the Kingstec and Annapolis Valley campuses.

He states, “I really love being in a line of work where you can see lives changed for the better through education and personal growth.  As a proud Nova Scotian the mission of the NSCC also inspires me, “To build Nova Scotia’s economy and quality of life through education and innovation.” Who would not want to be part of that mission? We see lives changed every year and I am part of two incredible teams of professionals who offer first rate services to our learners (advising, records and registration, personal and career counseling, testing, disability services, library services, et cetera)”

So, we’ve established John as a hardworking man who loves family, friends, and his job, but he’s got hobbies too. One particular hobby has turned into a very special project for John, and I want to tell you about it.

John loves to cycle! It’s easily one of his favourite things to do. He takes full advantage of the trails and bike routes here in the province, and this new project combines both his loves of education and cycling. John plans to undertake an adventure of a lifetime by circumnavigating the province in a solo bicycle trip. He leaves Wolfville on August 14th  (just before his birthday!) and plans to complete the 3400 KM bike ride by the third week of September.

He is calling it the “Determination Ride,” partly because one of his prime motivators is the determination to complete the journey, but he’s also doing it for a cause: “I am using the trip to raise awareness and funds towards the “Determination Fund” that has been set up to offer entrance financial support to graduates of the NSCC Adult Learning Program who are continuing on to attend one of our NSCC certificate or diploma programs. People interested in supporting this fund-raiser can make a tax-deductible donation via our Foundation donor site. During the ride I’ll be posting my daily progress with pictures and notes via Facebook.”

I encourage you all to check out, like and share John’s Facebook page called THE DETERMINATION RIDE and make a donation to this wonderful man and his inspiring journey!

As I mentioned in my intro, John has taken to the community theatre stage over the years to be a part of some acclaimed projects. John is a very talented performer, using his rugged good looks, sharp humour and stage presence to really bring out some wonderful characters. CentreStage in Kentville has hosted John’s talent in many productions including Enchanted April, Calendar Girls and my two favourites, Leading Ladies (I loved making John laugh on stage almost every performance) and the piercing drama My Boy Jack, where, without John by my side, I could never have pulled off the toughest role of my little theatre career! Keep an eye out for John in future productions, he’s got the bug and he’s very, very good at it! And if he’s as determined as he is on stage, then his cycling adventure will be a grand success!!

To my friend and very determined rider, all the best on your journey! Safe travels, best wishes and positive energy. Thank you John!

Photo Credit: Marc Hetu of MJHW Photography