November 2017 Winner - Michele Davis:(Quitman High School)


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Meridian Star Article

Cheers and thunderous applause resounded throughout the auditorium at Quitman High School when Michelle Davis was named November’s Golden Apple winner last week.

Davis, who teaches 10th grade English at the school, said she was surprised, humbled, and appreciative when her name was called.

"It made me remember why I do what I do," she said. "I love the kids, I really do, and I care about them more than just in the classroom. I want them to be successful, and for them to see this happen to me – it helps them to see they can do things that might change someone else’s life as well."

Howard Savage Jr., the school's principal, said Davis exemplifies everything that teachers need to represent.

What makes her different? Her passion for teaching, he said.

"She works hard and motivates and inspires the kids daily," he said. "Every single day, she comes in with a goal to try to make sure each student is learning to the best of their ability. I think that is what prepared her to win this distinguished award for herself and our school."

A place of security

Davis, who's been an educator for 26 years, said school was a safe place for her when she was young. That's one of the reasons she decided to become a teacher.

"Growing up, I moved around quite a bit, so school is where I felt secure," Davis said. "I had really good teachers, and I appreciated them. I found them to be knowledgeable and so helpful, so I just decided I wanted to be like that one day for children."

Davis' favorite thing about being a teacher? It makes her feel young at heart.

"I enjoy working with young people and I try to let them know just because I’m older doesn’t mean I don’t understand," Davis said. "I’ve been where a lot of them are, and I want them to know that there was a time in my life I wasn’t so successful. "I want them to have hope for the future and know they can do what they want to if they will set their mind to it."

High marks

Three of Davis' students – Jacy Waltman, Gavin Mosley and Shemiah Smith, give their teacher high marks.

"She just radiates with positivity, and always pushes us to do our best, and strive for the best," Waltman said.

"She is always there for you if you ever need a shoulder to lean on, or talk about anything," Mosley said. "She is just an overall great teacher and person."

"She motivates us to be the best we can be in a positive way," Smith said. "She is like a second mother to everyone."

Making a difference

Davis said she wants her students to know they can discuss anything in class – only if they are respectful to one another, and respect other people’s feelings.

"You have to make sure you don’t cross lines because teenagers are passionate about some things and they need to speak," Davis said. "I tell them all the time they don’t have to agree with me all the time, but they have to be respectful. That’s something I feel like if they learn now it will carry over into their lives."

Her advice to new educators: Money isn't everything.

"I encourage them to go with their heart, because sometimes you get paid with things more than money," Davis said. "This award means more to me than money. This award shows me that I have made a difference."