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Rewriting former career paths

English teacher Mary Davenport reflects on her lifelong passion

English+teacher+Mary+Davenport+reads+a+collection+of+her+articles.
English teacher Mary Davenport reads a collection of her articles.

English teacher Mary Davenport reads a collection of her articles.

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

Photo by Valerie Benzinger

English teacher Mary Davenport reads a collection of her articles.

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A young girl sits quietly in her house with worn down crayons and a stack of papers covered with drawings splayed out on the table in front of her. Her first picture book is almost complete. As she puts the finishing touches on the last illustration and rereads the brilliant story she has created, she puts down the crayons and smiles to herself, feeling satisfied and content.

After several years, this child developed her skills in reading and writing, becoming a highly advanced essay writer and an avid reader. These skills led her in the direction to share her passion with others: first through writing for a newspaper in New Jersey, and then through teaching others to love reading and writing.

English teacher Mary Davenport has been teaching for a total of seven years, with the last four of those years at Lewisville High School, but her love of the English language has followed her for the majority of her life. Her passion expresses itself through writing creative stories and blog posts.

“When I was younger I used to write more for different competitions and things like that,” Davenport said. “Even though I teach English, I don’t find as much time to write for myself, [but] I do write on a professional blog and a personal blog, just to try to keep my foot in the game a little bit. I think the written word is one of the most important aspects of our humanity, so I think it’s important that everyone writes in some aspect.”

Although Davenport’s early enjoyment of writing aided her in choosing a career, she faced a few unexpected obstacles while pursuing higher level education.

“When I was in high school, writing always came naturally to me,” Davenport said. “I was kind of struggling in college with figuring out a major; I actually changed my major a few different times. I switched to journalism because I thought since I was always good at writing, it’d be easier to maintain my GPA.”

Writing is one of the longest longest relationships of her life and has influenced her greatly through swaying her choice of career and higher level education to follow that passion.

I think the written word is one of the most important aspects of our humanity, so I think it’s important that everyone writes in some aspect.”

— Mary Davenport

“Journalism, though, was a struggle for me in college because I was used to writing very detailed, descriptive stories, and more creative writing,” Davenport said. “Journalism really re-teaches you to be concise, to not to write with any kind of bias, to stick to the facts [and to] make sure that you have a source for every sentence of the story that is verifiable. That was definitely a learning curve for me.”

After graduating from college, Davenport became a reporter for NJN Publishing for two years. She received the opportunity to expand her writing skills and try new things during her time working there.

“One of the cool parts about working for such a small publication is that I got to have my hands in every part of the process, from laying out the pages to editing them, and I even got to do some photography with the paper,” Davenport said. “They had a monthly special interest magazine, [which] was my favorite part to write for because it had feature articles and a little more flexibility with length.”

While working as a reporter, Davenport grew stronger as a writer and developed writing skills that continue to assist her while working as an English teacher.

“I think her work in journalism has made her a better persuasive writer since many journalists not only report events, but also give their opinions on them in reviews,” junior Kaitlyn Chappell said.

Davenport’s possession of real-world writing experience gives her an advantage over her coworkers when teaching young minds how to improve their writing. Her lifelong passion for storytelling motivates her to awaken that same passion in her students.

“I think her career as a journalist has given her a different mindset on how to teach students how to write professionally and how to write outside of just the test-taking setting,” senior Jordan Jackman said. “Students need to write essays for college, essays for scholarships and things like that, so I think her career as a journalist helps her prepare students for that.”

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Rewriting former career paths