Teacher inspires students, helps them grow careers

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KILLEN, Ala. (WHNT) - Sometimes, there's a special bond between student and teacher; one that pushes both to achieve big things.

A bond just like that exists between Cindy Davis, Work Based Learning Coordinator for Lauderdale County Schools, and senior student Austin Knight.

Davis spends her days teaching students at the Allen Thornton Career Technical Center what it really takes to get a job.

She gives lectures on how to apply for positions, prints out and posts job openings on a bulletin board outside her office and is always willing to go the extra mile for eager students.

"I knew that she was going to be somebody that I could count on to help me get where I am," Knight said.

Knight first met Davis not in class but through an organization called the Future Business Leaders of America. The group prepares students for the workforce, especially careers in business.

Davis became a mentor for Knight; supporting him as he ran for and was elected to the FBLA's state secretary position last spring.

Since then, Davis and Knight have traveled to Montgomery and Chicago, working together to inspire student leaders.

"We've had a good time," Davis recalls fondly, "It'll be sad when it's all over because he is a senior."

Because he's a senior, Knight thought it was the perfect time to honor Davis. So he nominated her for WHNT News 19's Tools for Teachers award.

She now has $319, which she hopes to spend on students like Knight; eager to achieve big things and lay the foundation for a career early.

It's a little bit of money that, Knight feels, will never measure up to the investment Davis has made in his fellow students.

"She provides a loving and caring atmosphere for all of her students, that's just really important for student success," Knight said.