Not all students can afford to attend Trousdale School, despite otherwise qualifying. To honor the late Danny Davis, and to help students pay their tuition at Trousdale, a scholarship fund was …
Not all students can afford to attend Trousdale School, despite otherwise qualifying.
To honor the late Danny Davis, and to help students pay their tuition at Trousdale, a scholarship fund was recently created called the Danny Davis Legacy Fund. A luncheon was held on Thursday to celebrate the fund’s creation and its namesake.
Trousdale School serves countless high-functioning adults with intellectual disabilities, and was a favorite place to volunteer for Danny Davis.
Thursday’s luncheon featured numerous former coworkers of Davis’ from Bendabout Farms and family members there to see him honored at the school he loved.
The Danny Davis Legacy Fund was made possible after the Tucker Foundation made a large donation and created the fund at the Community Foundation of Cleveland/Bradley County for Trousdale School in Davis’ name.
Since Trousdale isn’t funded by the government, neither state nor federal, all families pay tuition. As the school increases the amount of students it takes in, it’s more able to provide scholarships like Davis’.
Amy Conley-Moore, vice president of the Tucker Foundation, said that when she previously worked with Davis, he had invited her to attend a play at Trousdale. What followed was a genuine blessing for her in seeing the students onstage, and she even got a backstage tour as well.
“This is such a great way for Danny’s name to live on, and what better place to do it than through Trousdale School,” Conley-Moore said.
The school’s reach isn’t exclusive to Cleveland and Bradley County, as some students come from as far away as Lookout Mountain.
Laura Peterson, mother of Trousdale School student Eric Peterson, explained just how important being able to attend Trousdale School is to their family.
“Instead of seeing Eric’s diagnosis and just saying, ‘OK here’s your options,’ Trousdale School basically said ‘Let’s go! What can we do with this?’ And that was so encouraging for our family because we were just constantly focusing on what he can’t do, where he can’t work and what he’s unable to do,” Peterson said.
She also stressed just how valued her son feels at Trousdale. She praised the school’s staff for genuinely valuing its students and treating them as equals. One thing she noticed is everyone at the school knows Eric’s name, just like at church or home.
While it’s based on education, Trousdale School is community-based, with its students each having their own job, a fact Peterson said meshes well with the values of her family.
After a brief luncheon, Trousdale students provided musical entertainment for attendants through singing and dancing, as well as a personalized song featuring each student by name.
Following the student portion, two of Davis’ friends, Matt Bentley and David Sherlin, spoke about his values and the impact he’d had on them.
“Danny would be so proud of this honor and naming,” Bentley said. “I’m here today to reflect on Danny, the professional coworker and the man, my friend.”
While working at Maytag, Davis interviewed with Bentley, who hired him immediately after being won over by the man’s integrity and personality.
“Danny had a period in his life he called ‘his dark period’ that many people were unaware of, but he beat the odds and used his experience to help him in his testimony and outreach. He always supported the underdogs, which is what he was during this dark period of his life,” Bentley added.
Sherlin, a longtime friend of Davis’, described Davis as kind, considerate and selfless and said his loss has been substantial.
“Danny’s faith allowed him to see the intrinsic value of everyone. You have reinforced everything Danny stood for by coming to this event today,” Sherlin said to the audience.
Sherlin added he was proud to see his friend’s legacy live on in such a good manner.
Following a few closing remarks by Trousdale School founder Tom Johnson, the luncheon was concluded.
For more information on Trousdale School, visit its Facebook page, website at https://www.trousdaleschool.org/ or contact its staff at 423-479-7130. It is located at 3171 Hewitt Street.
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