By Jackson Smith/Staff Writer
Not many people have to consistently wake up at five in the morning, and even fewer have to get on an airplane and fly for up to six hours to get to work. Then of course, there’s maintaining a social life and taking care of the kids at the same time. For most people this would be criminal. Who would be willing to do this? This is the life of education consultant Marci Smith.
Marci was born February 8th, 1967 to Marilyn Harbison and Dave Needler. “From a young age, I always wanted her to be a hard worker,” Harbison said. “Before I knew it, both of my daughters were going to Purdue. I never really thought they’d get in if I’m being honest,” she elaborated. Marci went on to major in elementary education and met her future husband, Jess Smith III. Jess said ,“We lived in Cleveland for a while for my work, but after she became pregnant with Kylie, we moved back to Indiana.”
In December, 1995 the first child, Kylie, was born, and Marci almost raised her single-handedly for the next 3 years because Jess still was working in Dayton. “I was trying to find law work in Indiana, but I still had to keep my Dayton job before then. Marci still would make the 2 hour drive every day with Kylie to see me,” Jess said. “It was just in her nature. She was going to make that work.”
By the time Jackson was born in 2001, Marci had gotten out of elementary education and became an education consultant at Breakthrough Literacy. This job saw her traveling around the state, trying to sell education programs to various schools. “I could never of done that, especially with such a small company,” said Lisa Johnson, her sister. The traveling of this job would end up becoming a routine in her life for the next 16 years, as Breakthrough was bought by McGraw Hill and Marci worked there as a per diem (Basically a paid intern).
“I’d say she’s traveled over 10,000 miles for her job, and all of it was for the kids,” Harbison said. At a point when she was paying for her own gas, Marci began to even travel out of state for her job. When the economic downturn of 2008 began, this became even more imperative because everyone was out of work. Marci and Jess had to work very hard to keep the life we were living. “Mom and Dad are very hardworking people, and I honestly couldn’t imagine what life would be like without that,” Kylie said.
In time, Kylie was in her final years of high school and Marci and Jess had divorced. Even without their marriage, they made it work with her kids. It was always very amiable, and there were few if any problems. “Finally, I became fully employed at McGraw Hill, and they gave me a company car and a card for gas,” Marci said. Marci still works to this day, and is currently in Lansing, Michigan.“It’s been very hard to make this work, but to me it’s all worth it. I love this life, and I wouldn’t change one thing,” Marci said.