WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — This month’s WISH-TV Golden Apple Award winner uses his media skills to motivate students in Westfield.
WISH-TV is Indiana’s education station and News 8 honors outstanding teachers every month with the Golden Apple Award. It comes with a trophy, a $500 school supply shopping spree at Teachers’ Treasures, and a surprise from Hanna Mordoh.
Mr. Shawn Davis is November’s winner and is already “Westfield famous.” That’s according to students and staff in the Westfield-Washington School district.
Students across the district recognize Davis as the man behind the camera. His home base is at Westfield High School, where he teaches kids about video and media production. His students say he empowers people to follow their passions, and it’s time for him to be the star.
“He has such a wide reach over every single person in this district. I mean – he is Westfield famous,” Bailey Ruble, a Multimedia Producer for the district who works with Davis, said.
“He makes those real connections with people and that is how he has become Westfield famous,” Josh Andrews, the Director of Communications for Westfield-Washington Schools, said.
Davis the man behind the scenes at “Rocks Media House.”
“We have to go to all the schools and every single place we go, there is a student that knows him. ‘Hey, it’s Mr. Davis.’ Even kids he has never had,” Ruble said. “He is a very unique person. He is super optimistic all the time and he just has this energy when he talks. I mean you should see him when he speaks, he is very vivacious – full of life all the time.”
Together Davis and Ruble help students learn about video production. He highlights what kids are doing across the district, and helps students share their own stories. While teaching media production, Davis also gets staff involved in the video-making fun.
“I think he really connects with these students and what they are passionate about,” Ruble said.
Passion, that’s the word his students also use.
“I feel like he really just helps people find their passions and kind of move forward with those things. And he inspires students to be themselves,” Westfield High School Senior, Lauren Park said.
Until this year, Davis taught STEM, broadcasting, and language arts at Westfield Intermediate School. Now the high school students he works with remind him of all their fond memories. From rocking guitar in the classroom to more rocks.
“When I was in 6th grade, Mr. Davis had – this kind of sounds weird – he had a pet rock. He named it Becky. My friend and I were all about this rock, and it was so funny,” Park said.
Davis keeps his students laughing while creating connections on social media and in real life.
“He is not boastful at all about it but he is definitely really great at what he does,” Westfield High School senior, Gavin Smith said.
Davis is teaching kids the steps behind broadcasting, but his best talent is making students the stars. He helps them see their own potential in life.
“Now I just love writing and doing that type of stuff and he inspired my passion for it,” Park said.
“Push me to strive to be someone like him,” Smith said.
The impact Davis makes on students has been noticed by the district. Josh Andrews, who runs communications at Westfield-Washington Schools, had a message to share about Davis.
“He is always behind the camera. Always behind the students and pushing everyone else to reach their dreams and I just feel like he deserves to be recognized as well. He deserves to be on the other side of the camera because what he brings to this district is invaluable,” Andrews said.
That’s why he nominated Davis for the WISH-TV Golden Apple Award.
News 8 took over his TV studio classroom with a crowd of students, family, and friends to surprise Davis.
“I am a little overwhelmed. There are a lot of people here and I am a little shy right now, ha” Davis said. “It is an honor. I think the students also inspire me a lot, which is why I enjoy creating – myself. And they have been an inspiration for me and support for me and I love to give that back.”
Davis was surprised and humbled by the award. WISH-TV also shared a video with Davis, featuring kind words from his students and fellow staff members.
“I am tearing up a little bit. I just would never expect to be recognized like that,” Davis said. “It is super overwhelming and amazing. And I am just so grateful that I meant that to so many people, it is an honor.”
“Moreover than just the curriculum it is about the relationship and making kids feel safe and know they have a place here,” Davis said. “When I see somebody else passionate about something I think it can be contagious, right? It doesn’t matter what you are passionate about, passion breeds passion.”
Proving that the passion of our teachers and educators like Davis is the bedrock of our schools.
“So when you see other students who are passionate about something, fostering that and giving them a place to know whatever your passion is – there is a place for it and you should pursue that.”
To watch other Golden Apple Award recipients, click this link.
To nominate a deserving teacher for next month’s Golden Apple Award, submit a detailed nomination here.