“Super Girl” shares about the perks of chasing dreams

Barbara Smedile sits near the colorful entrance to the Queen Bee Boutique on Main Street in Medford during a short break from her usual routine. She is poised, relaxed and vivacious. Her long, dark hair drapes over her green top with crisscrossed gapped sleeves.

She is a single mother of two teenagers, a full-time fifth-grade teacher, a business owner, a baker, and, now, a motivational speaker.
In 1984, her father opened three Thriftway supermarkets — in Vineland, Millville and Bridgeton. Her family moved to Medford from their home in Pennsylvania.

Smedile was 18 and fresh out of high school.

“I graduated on a Friday and that Saturday, I was in Medford,” she said.

Although she was sad to leave her Pennsylvania life behind, she soon fell for the charms of small-town Medford.

“I love it,” she said. “Oh, I love it.”

She teaches at Bobby’s Run School in nearby Lumberton, schooling her young students all subjects — math, reading, writing, social studies.

Her lessons run for 45 minutes, but her students rarely are bored, she said.

“I’m like a monkey,” she said. “I don’t sit still in the classroom.”

Just last Friday, May 18, she was awarded Teacher of the Year for her school.

As someone who is easily bored, Smedile constantly needs projects to keep active.

Her latest venture to tackle, motivational speaking, recently brought her to Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mt. Holly.

“The name of the workshop was ‘Super Girl,’” she said.

She told the students, over two sessions, how essential it is to follow their dreams. She was one of three guest speakers.

“No one’s going to hand it to you,” she said. “You gotta make it happen.”

She spoke about skills needed to succeed, education suggestions and communication skills.

She also told them her own story to success.

In fifth-grade, Smedile was teased for being overweight.

“I used to cry and cry,” she said.

That changed when her fifth grade teacher quoted a powerful part of a poem by Marie Davis.

“At that moment, she made such a difference in my life,” she said.

She saw the power of a teacher and decided she wanted to be one herself.

“And that’s what I did,” she said.

When she graduated from eighth-grade, her classmates generally wore white, flowery dresses. She, however, wore hot pink with high heels and a scarf.

“I stood out,” she said. “But I was true to myself.”

A year later, she continued her positive thinking in an essay contest about being of service to America.

“I can be of service to America by being the best me there is,” her essay began.

She graduated from Rowan University with bachelor’s degree in education and psychology and went back for her graduate certification in special education.

“I don’t even know if I’m done,” she said.

Smedile was asked to visit the school based on her experience of starting a boutique in Medford.

She and her sister, Dawn Favuzzi, opened their business together in March 2011 down the street at the Antiques Building. The room, she said, was the size of a bedroom.

“It was so small,” she emphasized. “You have to start somewhere and you can’t let anyone stop you.”

The sisters, running a booming business, were soon able to rent the room in the front of the building.

A year later, they moved to their current location.

“We were just so excited to get dressing rooms and a big window,” she said.

Favuzzi works at the shop during the days while Smedile is at work. After she’s done teaching, she moves into the fashion industry.

“I’m busy,” she said. “Seven days a week.”

Her goal at the shop is to make women feel good about themselves — without sending themselves into credit card debt.

“When you shop at boutiques, it’s specialty items,” she said. “Why can’t fashion be affordable for all women?”

She suggested during her talk that students present themselves with class and bring personality into their outfits.

“Your image is everything too,” she said. “Be yourself.”

Through her shop, Smedile wants to help bring Main Street back to the thriving, cute street of former years.

“This has some staying power,” she said. “We aspire to get an even bigger place.”

“I like the hometown feeling. I really truly do.”

When she is not shuffling her two jobs and other obligations, Smedile is probably baking.

“Baking calms me,” she said.

Through her life, Smedile has learned one important lesson: Depend on yourself.

“Sometimes fairy tales don’t come true,” she said. “You have to depend on yourself.”

Though times may become difficult, she strives to keep a smile on her face.

“I try to be positive,” she said. “I wake up and say, OK, it’s my choice, what kind of day am I going to make it?”