Alexa Smith prepares for commencement

Nicole Bullard

Saddleback College student Alexa Smith, 55, horticulture has been on the Dean’s list almost every semester since 2008 and has a GPA of 3.93, a fulfilling schedule teaching cooking classes at Point Loma University and is preparing to transfer in the spring to Cal State Fullerton.

She has been selected to be the student commencement speaker for the spring graduation.

“When I started to look at academics it was kind of scary for me, because I was a child of the 70’s and I did the hippie thing, traveled and worked,” Smith said, “so I didn’t know if I could be a good student or not.”

Smith’s life is a collection of amazing activism, riveting experiences and kindness wherever she goes. She kept busy as a waitress, where she met an optician who liked her personality and wanted to teach her his trade. She also was trained by a lawyer at a law group and became a paralegal.

When she was younger, she also taught English in South America and after the Vietnam War she taught English to Cambodian refugees at Camp Pendleton.

She dabbled in the entertainment business she joined an improv group called M.I.C.E. in the mid-1990’s alongside Robin Williams, Tom Ritter and Mike Chain. She also hosted a cable show originating in Huntington Beach with two friends. The show had a cooking segment, a handyman segment and a segment where they went “out on the field,” sometimes going to shelters for battered women to help them.

Smith has visited London, Paris, Scotland, Brazil, Fiji and Tahiti. She even went kayaking in Fiji, where she was invited to a school fundraiser there and met a Fijian chief as an honored guest.

“Traveling can change your life, especially for me as a young person, it taught me a lot about independence,” Harris said.

As a traveler, Smith tends to make friends wherever she goes, and often gets along with other students in her classes very well.

“I bake, I cook, and I baked probably around five dozen muffins and brought them into English class yesterday, then I took them to my math class, then I took them to the tutoring guys,” Harris said.

She believes food is one of the best ways to show affection for another person, because everyone loves eating food and having food made for them.

“I think people need to be appreciated, and when you bake something for somebody it can make their day,” Harris said.

Smith will be speaking at the graduation ceremony, which will be on Friday, May 18 at 9 a.m. in the gymnasium.

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