Our City: Athena Davis personifies Cleveland’s ‘Spirit’
by Tom Rowland
May 15, 2014 | 935 views | 0 0 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cleveland High School teacher Athena Davis brought the national spotlight back to our city this week.

Her television appearance Monday on the ABC network morning show “Live with Kelly & Michael” focused on our great educational system. And Athena showed true Cleveland “Spirit” during her TV segment.

Athena is one of the five top-teacher finalists on the ABC show’s search for “Top Teacher 2014.” One of the five finalists from across the country is being featured each day this week on the show. Monday's show featured Athena and students, teachers and supporters throughout the community were watching. She made us proud to be in Cleveland, Tennessee!

This week, the vote for “Top Teacher” continues and we need to get behind Athena. Voting by viewers to determine which one of the five should be the show's “Top Teacher” begins Friday at 10 a.m. We each need to simply go online to the “Live with Kelly & Michael” website and vote for Athena.

She’s already a winner in all our eyes. A crew from the show was here last week to film Monday's segment. Cleveland’s historic downtown district, our Interstate 75 corridor Welcome signs and scenes around the Cleveland High School campus were spotlighted. It was impressive.

Even more impressive were the comments from fellow teachers, Principal Autumn O'Bryan and parents as they described Athena as “an inspirational teacher,” “a second mom,” “a fundraiser” and a “fun raiser.”

The TV show’s co-host Kelly Ripa acknowledged the video by commenting, “It's so great to hear your students speak of you that way. It's such an important job, I think, the most important job there is.”

And from Athena’s accolades on the video, it’s apparent her teaching philosophy revolves around teaching, inspiring and encouraging. On the video, students spoke of how she encourages them to get involved in their community and she supports them in many ways.

At CHS, Athena teaches English and Holocaust Literature. She is one of the high school's sponsors for the Model UN program and a co-chair on the school's prom committee.

Her participation and nomination in the program has already benefited Cleveland City Schools as ABC has given the school 30 HP Pavilion two-in-one devices. They act as both a tablet and a laptop computer. The show is rewarding Athena and her family with an expense-paid trip to Israel thanks to her Holocaust literature class.

Athena and family flew to New York a few days ago to take part in this weeklong adventure. It is a well-deserved honor for her and for our entire city school system.

As the current school year comes to a close in the next few days, it is a good time for all of us to thank a teacher for all they do for our community and in preparing our youth for the future.

Each year, Cleveland City Schools selects its own Teachers of the Year. Our winners quite often go on to nominations for state honors. Each one of us can probably relay a story or two about one teacher in our life who may have contributed or made a difference in some way.

Athena Buckner Davis is indeed a shining example of what we have in our classrooms in Cleveland — dedicated professionals with a heart of service to our students. This week she is enthusiastically sharing our “Cleveland Spirit” with the world via the TV spotlight.

“The City With Spirit” is fortunate to have teachers like Athena and all her colleagues in our classrooms each and every day, teaching, inspiring, encouraging and setting examples for our young people to follow as they pursue their careers.

Don’t forget to “Vote Athena Davis” this Friday beginning at 10 a.m. online.

Every vote counts!