Maggie Davis Brenau Scholar

Brenau Scholar Maggie Davis

Venturing outside a small hometown to a whole new city, one can feel like a little fish suddenly dropped into a big pond. That is how Maggie Davis first felt leaving Thomasville, Georgia, the only town she’s ever known, to come to Brenau to major in early childhood education and minor in psychology. The metaphor is all the more appropriate for Davis, who is also a member of the Golden Tigers swim team.

“Swimming has really opened my eyes to the world outside of Thomasville,” she says. “We travel all around the country for competitions and meet different teams, so I am getting to know people from all over the world.”

Davis’ upbringing kept her much closer to home. Her mother is a cosmetologist who runs a hair and nail salon; her father is an IT director for a school system; and her older brother, a senior at Georgia Southern University, is majoring in aerospace engineering. Davis, meanwhile, knew she wanted to become a teacher from a young age.

“When I was little, I got along with all of my elementary school teachers,” she says. “I looked up to them. I would go home and set up my stuffed animals and teach them about what I learned that day, the same way I was taught in class.”

Davis attended Thomasville High Scholars Academy, a component within the high school that provides an accelerated college preparatory magnet program for highly motivated and goal oriented students. Reflective of the small town, the high school only has about 600 students in grades 6-12, and Davis’ graduating class size was only about 92. She had many of the same teachers each year, including her history teacher, Erin White, who taught her all four years of high school. When Davis took White’s AP psychology class her senior year, she was inspired to continue learning more about it.

Davis considered teaching high school, but after coaching the age 7-9 swim team in Thomasville, she decided she wanted to teach elementary school, ideally third through fifth grades. Last year, her high school was involved in an elementary mentorship program, and every two weeks Davis visited different schools to give 30-minute lessons to third- and fourth-graders during their lunch breaks, which reinforced her passion for students this age.

The highly rated childhood education program wasn’t the only reason Davis chose Brenau. “The swim team is very passionate about what they do and is one of the main reasons I came to Brenau,” she says. “They’re like a big family, and I’m happy to be part of it.”

Davis has helped at the Humane Society in Thomasville, volunteered at soup kitchens on the weekends and participated in Project Backyard at her church by organizing fundraising concerts, clothing drives, food donations and community events. At Brenau, she was recently voted freshman senator on the SGA.

Davis is tempted to return to Thomasville once she graduates to teach elementary school, knowing how much her family and neighbors would like her to come back home. But she wants to branch out to new places in due time, making new friends and become involved in the community while in Gainesville.

“Being a Brenau Scholar is a big honor for me,” she says. “I feel like it’s a responsibility to be a role model for other students, by showing people you can be involved in different things and take on a lot academically, but you can also balance it all out.”

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