Athena Davis has been named one of the five finalists for the nationally syndicated “LIVE with Kelly and Michael” show’s Top Teacher Search.
The English teacher at Cleveland High School discovered she was in the competition Friday morning — the same time as almost everyone else in the school.
Principal Autumn O’Bryan tweeted a reminder for everyone to tune in to the school’s morning news segment on Thursday.
“I’m a secret keeper,” O’Bryan said on the social media site. “Big announcement on Raider Connect tomorrow at a special time @ 9:40 #youdontwanttomissit.”
Davis tuned into the station without any thought to the big announcement being about herself. She said she believed it might be about a new regulation or change pertaining to the entire school.
“So when they said my name, it was like dead silent,” she said. “I turned to my students, and it was my second period AP class, and they all just turned to me.”
A moment of silence passed. Then another one. Finally, the students broke out into a cheer. Davis admitted she did not hear the rest of the broadcast due to what she referred to as “tunnel hearing.”
Students, parents, fellow faculty at Cleveland High and across the city school system, locals and viewers of the TV show voted for three straight days. Tuesday’s announcement naming Davis to the final five caused the teacher to break out in a huge smile as her sister wrapped her in a hug.
“I was so glad mine was the first one that came up. I had all this anticipation building the entire show,” Davis said. “I don’t think my heart could have handled it if I had been later on in the list.”
She will appear on the show Monday, May 12. Each of the finalists will spend a day on the show before a final decision is made. Crew members showed up today to record Davis’ interactions with students at school, her family at home and friends at church.
The footage will be shown as part of the show on May 12.
Davis said Lorne Conn and her mother, Kelly, were behind the nomination. They described Davis as a teacher who “inspires greatness from her students,” and “is an inspiration to all who come in contact with her.”
However, it seems Davis is the one who has become the most inspired as of late. She is grateful and floored by the support shown to her by her students, peers and community. The support further cements her belief Cleveland is the best city around.
“I think in a big city this might get overlooked, but Cleveland is just the kind of community where it doesn’t matter if you are running to Boston or if you are in Augusta (Ga.) playing golf, like Rheagan Hall,” she said. “We just support our people. Whatever we are doing, we just get right behind them.”