I Choose to be Happy: A School Shooting Survivor's Triumph over Tragedy
Author of


Missy has been telling her remarkable story at schools, businesses, state and national conferences, churches and youth camps for the past 18 years. During her presentation, Missy candidly shares her memories of the shooting, how she faced her fears and how she overcame countless physical and emotional obstacles to achieve her goals. She also addresses the issue of bullying and how it contributed to the shooting. She would be honored to talk with you about arranging a date for her to speak to your group.

The suggested age group for her message is fifth grade and up, and the length of the presentation can be tailored to fit your time frame. Her talk generally lasts 30-45 minutes, with a question-and-answer session following that can last as long as you would like (she will answer any and all questions). Missy is also happy to meet with members of the audience for pictures or to sign her book. If time permits, she would also be willing to put her 10 years of experience as a day treatment counselor to work on an individual basis if you have specific students with whom you’d like her to meet.

Her fee will include all travel expenses, which will vary with each presentation depending on the distance and number of days required. She will not need a deposit. She can accept a check the day of the speaking engagement or invoice your organization following the event.

Missy can do more than one talk a day depending on the timing and locations of the other talks. So, for example, if you represent a school and there are one or two other nearby schools that would also like her to speak the same day, all schools involved can share the cost to make it less expensive for each of you. This makes Missy very affordable compared to other speakers.

Her award-winning book, I Choose to be Happy, is not included in her fee, though quantity and preorder discounts are available. When it comes to schools, Missy always finds after her talks that many students are interested in purchasing her book and having her sign it. We can give a discount to those who preorder it, which also helps Missy know how many books she needs to bring so that she can be sure everybody who wants one will get one.

To inquire about Missy speaking at your event, or if you have any other questions, please contact us here.

To see when and where Missy will be speaking, click on the “Event Calendar” tab above.



“Missy is a dynamic speaker with a unique ability to touch the heart with her message of hope. She captures the essence of overcoming adversity while refusing to succumb to sadness. Her message is an inspirational one that needs to be heard by all.”


C. Ed Massey
Past President of the National School Boards Association

“Listening to Missy’s story and her journey of recovery and determination is something everyone should experience. She demonstrates a will to live her life with purpose and gives hope to all who witness her presentation. She is an amazing woman with incredible courage and strength.”


Tim Hanner
President/CEO of NaviGo Prep
Former Kenton County Schools Superintendent
2010 Kentucky Superintendent of the Year

“It can be challenging to captivate a middle school audience, but that’s not the case with Missy Jenkins Smith. Our students were engaged with each word she spoke to them, and it was clearly evident how much she touched their hearts as they continued to talk about her weeks after her visit. My staff and I enthusiastically recommend Missy.”


Bryant Gillis
Principal, Tichenor Middle School, Erlanger, Ky.

“Holmes Middle School had the distinct pleasure of having Missy Jenkins Smith as a guest speaker. For our students, it was the experience of a lifetime as they were captivated by her story and their lives were changed. Missy’s speech was not only that of being a survivor of a school shooting, but also of the consequences of bullying. Everyone was moved. You must have her speak at your school. She truly has a story to tell.”


Sean Bohannon
Holmes Middle School
Covington, Ky.

A Sampling of Missy’s Prior Speaking Engagements


  • Kentucky Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Conference for Law Enforcement in Louisville.
  • South Carolina Farm Bureau Youth Leadership Conference, Newberry College in Newberry, S.C.
  • Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders Conference at Murray State University.
  • Kentucky Association of School Administrators Conference in Louisville.
  • Nutrition Conference for local schools at Bedford Elementary School in Bedford, Ky.
  • Community Christian Academy in Paducah, Ky.
  • Auburn Elementary School in Auburn, Ky.
  • Chandler’s Elementary School in Russellville, Ky.
  • Heath Middle School in Paducah, Ky.
  • Lone Oak Middle School in Paducah, Ky.
  • Speaking for the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation at the MSU Paducah campus.
  • Newport Middle School in Newport, Ky.
  • Newport High School in Newport, Ky.
  • Bellevue High School in Bellevue, Ky.
  • Caldwell County High School in Princeton, Ky.
  • Caldwell County Middle School in Princeton, Ky.
  • Caldwell County Elementary School in Princeton, Ky.
  • Kentucky Association for Psychology in Schools (KAPS) Conference in Louisville, Ky.
  • Freshmen at E.W. Grove School in Paris (Henry County), Tenn.
  • Murray State University Chapter of the Alpha Omega Pi Sorority at the Murray Country Club in Murray, Ky.
  • Murray High School in Murray, Ky.
  • First Baptist Church in Gilbertsville, Ky.
  • Reidland Middle School in Paducah, Ky.
  • Livingston County Middle School in Burna, Ky.
  • Madison Southern High School in Berea, Ky.
  • Foley Middle School in Berea, Ky.
  • Farristown Middle School in Berea, Ky.
  • Family Counseling Center in Vienna, Illinois.
  • Keynote address at the Family Resource & Youth Services Coalition of Kentucky Fall Institute in Louisville, Ky.
  • Hart County High School in Munfordville, Ky.
  • Hart County Schools professional staff development meeting in Munfordville, Ky.


  • Summit View Middle School
    Independence, Ky.
  • Alabama School Counselor Association State Conference
  • Camden Junior High School
    Camden, Tenn.
  • Big Sandy School
    Big Sandy, Tenn.
  • Indiana 4-H Camp
  • Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders (IFAL) Kentucky State Conference

  • Delaware School Counselor Association State Conference
  • Alabama Association of School Resource Officers State Conference
  • Junction Hill C-12 School
    West Plains, Mo.
  • Rockcastle County Schools GEAR UP
    Mt. Vernon, Ky.
  • Graves County Middle School
    Mayfield, Ky.
  • National Association of Social Workers
    Ky. Chapter
  • Georgia School Counselor Association State Conference
  • St. Henry District High School
    Erlanger, Ky.
  • Holmes Middle School
    Covington, Ky.
  • Tichenor Middle School
    Erlanger, Ky.


  • Campbell County Schools
    Alexandria, Ky.
  • Kentucky School Boards Association State Conference
  • Ohio School Resource Officers State Conference
  • Tennessee School Resource Officers State Conference
  • Ky. Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Conference
  • Livingston County School District
    Smithland, Ky.
  • Murray High School
    Murray, Ky.
  • Carroll County Schools
    Carrollton, Ky.
  • Ky Center for School Safety
    State Conference
  • Symsonia Baptist Church
    Symsonia, Ky.
  • St. Catherine of Siena Church Lenten Series
    Fort Thomas, Ky.


  • The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Auburn Elementary School
    Auburn, Ky.
  • Carroll County Schools
    Carrollton, Ky.
  • First United Methodist Church
    Paris, Ky.
  • Carlisle County Public Schools
    Bardwell, Ky.
  • KY Farm Bureau State Conferences
  • Newcomb Oil Co. Conference
  • McCracken Regional Juvenile Detention Center
    Paducah, Ky.


  • Indiana University Foundation
  • Alpha Omicron Pi National Convention
    Tampa, Fla.
  • Goodwill Industries of Kentucky
  • Greater Clark County Schools
    Jeffersonville, Ind.
  • Hancock County Schools
    Hawesville, Ky.
Buy Missy’s Books




Click here to inquire about quantity discounts, such as for schools.

This Week’s Happiness Quote

“Just because you are happy it does not mean that the day is perfect but that you have looked beyond its imperfections."

― Bob Marley


Missy and her co-author, William Croyle, will be happy to accommodate you with interview requests. Please contact Mr. Croyle directly through his e-mail.