Thanks to Teachers: David Banks

In the halls of Smoky Mountain High School, students gather to wish David Banks farewell. The popular History teacher has said 'goodbye' to a career before. "We ran around for 20 years, moving up and down the East coast, and deployed to over 30 countries," says Banks. "Truly enjoyed it. Loved the Marine Corps." After his third son was born with special needs, the Marine officer left the service. He became a first time teacher at age 50. History was his subject, much of it backed up by personal experience and unforgettable stories.

"About him working in the Pentagon the day of 9/11, and how he was supposed to be in a meeting where it hit, where the planes hit," says Junior Emma Raleigh, recalling one of those stories. "Really making it clear to us what war is like," says senior Seth Steinbicker. "That's's sort of controversial, but, it's something that kids need to learn." "Just coming into high school, everyone would say 'Coach Banks is like the best teacher, and he always explains everything the best, and he's just the teacher you want to get," says sophomore Nyah Huddleston. Banks served in Operation Desert Storm as part of his 22 year military career. "The reason they (students) like it so much is the guys that I lead during that time period were only a few years older than they are." says Banks.

But, Banks, who was also Smoky Mountain High's wrestling coach, is struggling with health issues from injuries he suffered as a young marine: 4 back surgeries in 2 years, an upcoming knee replacement, and, the question from his wife. "I couldn't answer it. And, when she asked it, I knew she had me. She said, 'what do you have left to achieve?" Banks had achieved his coaching dream. "When we finished the wrestling season this year, we picked up our 100th win as a team, and I did that in 6 years, and that was really my ultimate goal as a coach." Yet even though Banks knows it's time to retire, he says he will always be a History teacher. "Being Grandpa is what I'm going to do for awhile. My wife says I can start my history lessons with the grandkids shortly."

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