If you attended Amity High School anytime since 1985, even if you weren’t a student and just stopped by for an event, you know Debbie Davis.
The “most beloved teacher” at Amity is retiring after 32 years.
Debbie came to Amity as a Health and Physical Education teacher and got involved with everything over the years.
She was a Senior Class Advisor for 20 years, Co-Chairman of the BOW Relay For Life, helped with the After Prom and was the school’s biggest and loudest cheerleader.
Her former boss Athletic Director Paul Mengold would ask her to do something with athletics and she would dive in with both feet.
Prior to her employment at Amity, Debbie’s husband Paul Davis was the Amity Boys and Girls Swim Coach and she became dedicated to that program. To this day, she still announces at Amity’s home swim meets in Orange.
As she reflected on three decades with Amity, Debbie said, without missing a beat, that her favorite part was, “I LOVE, love, being with my Department. We laugh every day when you go to work it’s like an extended family,” she said. “I’m extremely fortunate.”
Debbie also loves the kids, she loves watching them as they grow from Freshman to Seniors and seeing their academic and athletic accomplishments over the years.
Although tennis is her favorite person sport, at the school she is partial to girls volleyball because of the coach, her son Seth (who was chosen by his peers as the 2017 Coach of the Year).
“They have a phenomenal team,” she said.
It seems that every day, Debbie runs into a former student who will give her a hug and chat.
One such incident surprised her when the gentleman said that she “changed his life forever and for that he will always be indebted.”
Debbie’s lesson to him was to think with your heart, not with your brain.
She feels that the best thing she’s taught her students is the importance of relationships with their family members, not just their friends. “Talk to your parents, talk to your siblings because they are the most important people in your life.”
Debbie’s husband, Paul, said, “She loves the kids but demands respect and she treats them with respect. She always tells them the truth she will let them know if they aren’t being respectful.”
“Debbie is like a second parent to the kids at Amity. She demands that they work to their highest potential, but also knows the importance of having fun,” Paul said.
Her popularity is evident at basketball games and other events when the kids start chanting “Deb-bie Da-vis,” out of the blue.
The Administration allowed Debbie to do the things she did because they knew it worked.
Amity Principal Anna Mahon spoke affectionately about her. “Debbie Davis is not just the face of Amity, she is the heart and soul. She has been a part of our school community and the greater BOW community for so many years and so many ways.”
Mahon continued, “The students love Mrs. Davis because they know that she truly loves them. Debbie is one of the most enthusiastic educators I know and she will be sorely missed by everyone, particularly during lunch when we no longer have her whistle to rely on or her signature yell while standing on a bench seat, “Clean off your tables, thank you!”
Athletic Director Ernie Goodwin has only worked with Davis for a couple of years, but already has a deep respect and affection for her.
He said, “She embodies everything Amity Athletics stands for. She knows what’s right, what’s wrong, and she calls people on their behavior.”
“You know she’s special when you meet her,” Goodwin said. “Everyone gravitates toward her and everyone knows her as a motherly figure.”
“What I will miss most about her is when she’ll close my door and say, “Ok, talk to me what’s the matter.” He added, “Thankfully, she will still help out next year, so we’ll see her, but I will miss the day to day interactions.”
Her friend and Relay Co-Chair Lynn Plaskowitz said, “Debbie is a very special person. She loves the kids and puts her heart into everything she does. She is respected by everyone and has a great sense of humor.”
Davis said she has mixed emotions about leaving Amity.
She will miss her best buddy Betsy in the Amity Athletic Department, with whom she has worked for many years and never argued even once.
She will no longer work 14 hour days and will have more time to spend with her grandchildren.
She can get up at any time she wants in the morning, take a swim, babysit the grandchildren and simply enjoy life. But don’t worry Amity. She’ll still be around at the games with her signature yell, “Come On Amity!”
Orange Live wishes you the very best in your retirement, Debbie. You are a Very special lady and we treasure your friendship and wisdom over the years.
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