This amazing woman was just inducted into the Thespian Hall of Fame, and is now retiring. What a gift she has been to all of us who were in her class.
I am the mother of three. And what I hope and pray for my children, is that other people would speak into their lives.
I was lucky enough to have an influencer in my own life. (Click HERE to read a recent article written about her.)
Her name was Ms. Davis, my theater teacher in high school.
With her kind eyes and warm hugs, those of us who were blessed to know her, felt as if she was a mother figure to us.
A mentor. A guide.
You could go to her desk in the corner and whisper your secrets. You could tell her your pain and you could even tell her the jokes that most teachers would discipline you for. She was a friend to all of us and as I remember back, really embodied the ability to love unconditionally. I would try to work for her praise or adoration as this was the way love worked in my own family system, but I didn’t have to strive or perform for her kind words or for a gentle glance. It just was.
Yes, those of us involved in theater in 1986-1990 were a passionate and chaotic group, a bit of a brat pack, and I have no doubt we pushed her limits.
Yet, she always offered us grace.
I can’t remember my lines from the plays, I can’t remember the choreography, but I can remember that every day after school I could walk down the long hall, through the side door of the theatre into a world where people were accepted for who they were. A world where creativity was accepted and cherished. A place where you were free to be yourself. This doesn’t happen just because someone is cast in a play, nor do I believe it happened at every school.
Those of us at Shawnee Mission North, were blessed, because of Ms. Davis. Because of her passion for teenagers. Because of her passion for the arts. And because she believed every single one of us mattered.
I can only pray and hope that my children are blessed enough to be given a gift like the gifts Ms. Davis gave all of us as to usher them into adulthood feeling like, yes, there is one person out there who believes in me. One person who cares about me just as I am.
Now in my 40,’s I still carry around that gift that she gave us, the gift of love and acceptance, and hope that I as well can offer that gift to others. My time under her wing has helped me to do the writing and speaking that I do now.
Thank you Ms. Davis. You changed hundreds of lives, including mine, through your commitment to teenagers. I am so honored and blessed by your presence in my life.