A Letter to a Friend

Trace Richard ’18

I was patiently sitting in the student section the morning of Graduation. Trying to pass the time, I did everything from biting my nails to daydreaming. But one award caught my complete attention. The Distinguished Service Award. This award was presented by Mr. Finch, Woodberry Class of ‘75 and Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The Distinguished Service Award was established in 1980 by the Board of Trustees and is given to members of the faculty who, through long and dedicated service, have contributed a priceless addition to Woodberry in some way.

As I looked up and started to pay attention, the first person that came to my mind that I thought deserved this award was Mrs. Jean Davenport. I have been working with Mrs. Davenport since I arrived at Woodberry. For three years we’ve met once a week to cover a variety of topics: classwork, school life, college, personal issues, dogs–the list only goes on. Ms. Davenport’s guidance has impacted more than just my grades and SAT scores, as she has led me to get more involved in campus life and the culture of our school. There has not been a single obstacle that we couldn’t tackle or a problem we couldn’t solve. But most importantly, she was a friend. When I became frustrated with my work, her patience and kind encouragement never wore thin. She was there to help and words can’t describe the level of appreciation I have for Mrs. Davenport.

Coming to Woodberry in 1976, Mrs. Davenport has spent 41 years here helping a countless number of Woodberry boys. She would commute from Louisa County everyday and often stay late to help a Woodberry boy in need. As the Director of the Academic Developing Center, she was put in charge of a lot of different tasks. In my case, Mrs. Davenport was there to offer my mother Peace of Mind. My mother would constantly check-in with Mrs. Davenport about my grades and my behavior to ensure that I was always working to my best potential. Mrs. Davenport and I have been through a lot together and I was ecstatic to hear Mr. Sumner announce her name for the award.

From yawning to attentive to smiling, I sat through Mr. Finch’s presentation and, on cue, I shot straight up to applaud her reception of the award. The Distinguished Service Award was a good start to the amount of thanks that Mrs. Davenport deserves and I will dearly miss having such a formative mentor and friend at Woodberry next year. I will still try and send my college essays to Mrs. Davenport to look over. It just wouldn’t be right to not have her input. 

Categories: Spotlight