A Local Teacher Brings Students Together Through Creative Interaction.

by | Mar 2024

TAKE A moment to reflect. Can you pinpoint one person who made such a significant impact on you that it molded the trajectory of your future? For Sarah Davis, that person was her sixth-grade teacher, who told Davis that she was special. She believed it, and that belief propelled her into the educational realm.

“If I can make another student feel that way, I can’t think of a better job,” she stated, carrying with her the influence of the teacher who inspired her.

Davis has taught for 22 years, with 18 of them being at Brookville High School. After instructing subjects such as biology and Earth science, Davis, serving as chair of the science department, now teaches astronomy. But she doesn’t stop there — Davis also teaches a class for emerging leaders. The goal is to foster connections between students interested in leadership and others on campus. As she developed the leadership program, she noticed a group of students who would benefit from forming those connections: students with disabilities.

When Davis took a break from teaching after her first year, she went to work for an organization where she had co-workers with disabilities. 

“Adults with disabilities worked every bit as hard — even harder — and were every bit as reliable and encouraging as any other worker in the facility. [Co-workers] taught me a lot about compassion, loving each other, teamwork, and encouraging each other.” 

When Davis began the class, she wanted leadership students to create connections with students with disabilities at the school. The leadership students embraced the idea.

The student leaders create and facilitate three to four events during the academic year to bring students together. The events usually have a holiday theme and involve games, art activities, and food — three essential elements for any high school interaction. At the end of the year, her leadership students host a field day. The fun-filled day is attended by Brookville High School students with disabilities and students from several other Campbell County schools. Water is available throughout the day, and the event ends with students eating lunch together.

While the events are impactful, Davis has seen much more manifest from those connections — the students greet each other in the hallways and spend time together outside their required class or recreational time.

The influence of Davis’ sixth-grade teacher hasn’t escaped her other efforts. In conjunction with the University of Lynchburg, Davis teaches a dual enrollment course for high school students interested in pursuing a teaching career. Davis says the class, titled Teachers for Tomorrow, is “essentially Education 101” and includes 25 practical teaching hours, similar to university requirements.

Davis’ passion for teaching and desire to positively influence future teachers is obvious. Beyond her occupation, Davis envisions fostering connections for people with disabilities in many facets of Lynchburg life. She dreams of seeing local businesses create jobs, allowing children to leave high school “and have meaningful employment and connection to the broader Lynchburg community.” 

Her zeal and determination are tangible, leaving waves of change and compassion in their wake. GN 

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