Pittsford teacher supports former student at Spring Training

Rich Donnelly
Created: February 21, 2020 06:47 PM

(WHEC) — Right now there are thousands of baseball players and an equal number of fans spread across Florida and Arizona for spring training.

Every single one of the players dreams of making it to the Major Leagues and there's one teacher from the Rochester area who's there to watch a former student live out his dream.


"He has not changed at all,” Stu Smith said. "He was always happy, always had a smile."

Stu Smith remembers his former student very fondly, and these days the dynamic between the two is considerably different.  

Smith is a 6th-grade teacher at Barker Road Middle School in Pittsford and has been going to spring training for the past five years. But this year, he gets to spend time with his former student, Danny Mendick.  

Danny is in the Chicago White Sox organization and got called up to the bigs last September.  

He hopes to make it back again this year, but Smith says that wasn't the most predictable path for Danny when he was Danny's teacher.

"Danny in 6th grade was one of the shortest boys in the grade, but that's just a testament to Danny and how hard he's had to work," Smith said.

And for showing up to support his former 6th grader, Smith now has a signed baseball from Danny.

"He's such a determined kid and this was his dream,” Smith said. “Lots of hard work on his end, I'm so excited for him."

Stu Smith told us that he's a diehard Cubs fan, but added that he’ll be rooting for the White Sox as long as his former 6th grader, Danny, is on the team.

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