Fondly known as “Missy D,” Laura Marie Davidson has been teaching at Ashland High School for 22 enjoyable years. Davidson went to the high school herself, graduating in 1976. All four of her children also attended AHS. She remembers a much different Ashland High: with a grassy quad with no “half-moon,” a P.E. class that taught the Jitterbug, and a space where the Mountain Avenue Theater now stands. School dances had character, such as a fifties sock hop where time travel was possible, and the days of the soda fountain and poodle skirts were recreated for one night.
She was actively a part of many school functions, partaking in choir, Innovations Committee, and more. She was also a student ambassador and played a role as part-time Grizzly Bear Mascot, suffering face scratches and other horrors from the Grizzly’s bulky “head.” The point is, high school cannot always be a truly joyous and easy experience.
She teaches five classes, specializing in beginning and advanced Fiber Arts, Family Health and Child Psychology one and two. Davidson also taught beginning and advanced foods. Davidson has an intriguing teaching philosophy, deriving from the teachings of Haim Ginott. One of Ginott’s most famous quotes teaches that, “I’ve come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It’s my daily mood that makes the weather. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized.” The health of the students here means everything to her, because an unhealthy student has a harder time learning.
Davidson is involved in the community and several service projects, including having her “Knit Wits” club knit hats for the children at the Dunn House, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Her Fiber Arts class contributes to Ashland Community Hospital, sewing beanie style caps for newborns. Davidson is pleased about the way that the high school has advanced over the years, going from a school that offered few sports and no sewing classes to a silver medal public high school.