Shaunta Davis has taught Spanish in the Middle School since 2012 and she is parent to a Country Day third grader. Last summer, she traveled to Costa Rica as a recipient of the J.R. Williams Summer Travel Fellowship and she immersed herself in the culture of Spain several years ago through the McGuire Family Foundation Grant. Like many Country Day teachers, she also finds time to give back to the community. Shaunta is at the forefront of a nonprofit called E2D (Eliminate the Digital Divide), and uses her teaching, language, and technology skills in ways that move the greater Charlotte community forward.
Q: How did you get involved with E2D?
A: The nonprofit was started a few years ago by family friends. Their daughter came home from school one day and asked two important questions: “how do kids without technology at home do the work that the teacher assigns?” and “what are we going to do about it?” From there, E2D grew with a mission to ensure that all students have affordable access to essential at-home technology and digital literacy training in order to support academic success and prepare students for college, careers, and beyond. It was small at first and localized to the Davidson and Cornelius communities. Now we serve students and families throughout CMS from South Charlotte to Davidson.
Q: How do you help the organization?
A: I typically work as a translator for the families that speak Spanish. I help them acquire, use, understand, and set up their new computers. Two years ago the program received a grant and I worked for about two months with a small group of parents to teach them more detailed computer skills to help them in their daily lives. I also assist with local distributions at the various public libraries and CMS schools, and I am a supervisor, photographer, and coordinator for the larger distributions (500+ computers) at ImaginOn.
Q: Why do you volunteer?
A: I love this work and the organization! It is something that I am personally invested in because I can immediately see the change I can make in people’s lives. Using my Spanish outside of the classroom in the real world to help my community is so fulfilling. I learn so much from each of the families and I learn a lot about my community. Also, being a part of the program from the beginning and watching it grow has been so rewarding. As one of the earliest volunteers, I have also been able to recruit other volunteers or workers needed for various events that the program provides for the community.
Volunteering reminds me that people come from all different backgrounds, and humility and kindness go a long way.
Q: What have you learned through this volunteer experience that makes you a better teacher?
A: Volunteering reminds me that people come from all different backgrounds, and humility and kindness go a long way. In my work with E2D, I am reminded that patience is crucial in teaching and that anyone can be a student no matter how old or young. The experiences through E2D allow me to relate to my students, help with their frustrations, and remind me what it is like to be a student, so I can better channel their feelings in the classroom. One of the most rewarding things about volunteering for E2D is being able to remind my students both how fortunate they are, and how valuable Spanish is right here in Charlotte. Although I am a middle school Spanish teacher, I have been able to share my language skills outside of the classroom with many of my former students as many are Upper School students who have volunteered with me at E2D distributions.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: As much as I pour into my students and my volunteer work, I know that it is important to replenish myself as well—so that I can be the best teacher, mentor, and colleague possible. When I’m not teaching or volunteering, I love to cook foods from all regions of the world. But, I must admit,my guilty pleasure is binge-watching shows on Netflix.