Surprise for Superhero principal

Surprise for Superhero principal
October 23
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Ron Davis reacts to his surprise gift.)

Ron Davis, the principal of Gibson Elementary School, is a fan of comic-book  superheroes, especially the X-Men. When curriculum coordinator Amy Holcomb saw that the Marvel Universe Live! show was coming to Greensboro Coliseum, she thought that sending him to the show would be a perfect way for everyone else at Gibson to thank him for all that he does.

“I went to school and said, ‘We have to send Mr. Davis to this,’” Holcomb said to fellow curriculum coordinator Raphael Hughes, who is responsible for grades three through five. Holcomb is responsible for grades kindergarten through second grade.

Wanting it to be a surprise, they enlisted the help of Davis’s wife, Audrey, and the rest of the staff at Gibson and went to work. The idea was to spring it all on him on the day of the show – Oct.10.

Staff members at Gibson contributed enough not only to buy the tickets but also to pay for dinner for the Davises before the show. Everyone thought that it would be fun to “suspend” Davis from school and have all the students at Gibson gather outside the building to see Davis and his wife off as they headed off for their adventure. Teachers had students make posters. Some said, “Happy Birthday!” Others said, “We Love Mr. Davis!”

A student displays his love for his principal.

A student displays his love for his principal.

“We wanted to do something to show our appreciation for what a great principal he is,” Holcomb said.
The staff members set up some bogus meetings to ensure that Davis’s time was booked, and, with his 55th birthday having already come and gone and Boss’s Day still in the future, Davis had no reason to wonder whether anyone might be up to anything.

As some staff members waited to spring Phase One of the surprise, they talked about why they appreciate Davis so much:

“He works tirelessly,” Hughes said. “He is passionate about education – passionate about the whole child. And he is willing to do whatever needs to be done, whether that is mopping the floor or wiping a student’s nose.”

“He has a gentle heart,” said Kevin Ingram, the parent involvement coordinator. “He loves the children – the staff. This is the calling he has on his life.”

“He is very accommodating for students and staff,” said data manager Shannon White. As an example, she talked about his Chat & Chew days – days that any members of the staff can set up a time to talk with him about anything.

To explain her presence at the school, earlier in the day Audrey Davis had had to stretch the truth a bit to her husband, saying that her job as a child-care consultant required her to stop by Gibson. As someone who believes it important to always tell the truth, she felt a little uncomfortable but it was for a good cause.

The Davises have been married for 30 years. They met when both were students at Winston-Salem State University. They traveled in the same circles.
“We became friends,” she said.

They ended up going to the same church, too, and everything grew from there.
When it was time, Holcomb went and collected Davis. When he opened the door expecting school business to find a room decorated in a superhero motif, he knew that something was up.

“What is this all about?” he asked.

It’s about Boss’s appreciation day and your birthday and “how incredible it is to work with you every single day,” Holcomb said.

The tickets came with a giant card that had signatures from staff members on the inside and the Sesame Street character Elmo dressed up as a super hero on the outside.

“This is a great team,” Davis said.

The surprise included food, too, and the tables had superhero placemats that fifth-grade teacher Brian Gordan had his students color. Davis said that he hadn’t seen any of this coming. Not knowing that there was a Phase Two to come, he said, “Y’all got me good.”

While Davis was in the room receiving all that attention, Holcomb made a school-wide announcement that alerted everyone that it was time for students to sneak outside.

Inside, Hughes told Davis that they were “suspending” him and listed the reasons why:
“Failure to give up on children”
• “Failure to be inflexible with his staff”
• “Failure to leave work each day at a reasonable time”
• “Constantly taking obstacles at a single bound”

When the signal came that everyone was ready at the front of the building, Holcomb and Hughes escorted Davis outside. There, students greeted him with the signs they had made and with cheers. At one point, everyone started chanting, “Davis! Davis! Davis!”

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