Springwood valedictorian set to attend Auburn

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Springwood High’s 2023 valedictorian can be best found hunting in the woods or fishing by the lake, at least until he heads off to Auburn next year. 

Senior Joel Davidson, son of Russ and Caroline Davidson, would rather be outdoors than on a ball field, but his grades are always his top priority. 

He learned to put his studies first throughout the week so that he would have free time on the weekends. 

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“I definitely had to find a good balance with school and missed out on a lot of social activities,” Davidson said. 

Still, Davidson has stayed engaged with his classmates through clubs. He is a member of the Leo Club, Bible Club and Student Government Association. He was on the baseball team for several years as well. He is also a student officer. 

Those experiences taught him to be a stronger leader. Davidson learned to voice his opinions on how to improve things for his class in the student council. 

“Another thing that I think I definitely learned from being an officer is communicating with adults and with the faculty, our headmaster and all the administration,” Davidson said. “That’s something I wasn’t comfortable with and been able to get comfortable with because we have to do that a lot.”

To keep from feeling burned out on study nights, Davidson learned to use exercise as a healthy form of stress relief. Whenever he needs a break from the strain of schoolwork, he lets off steam by working out. 

“When I need a break, I can go work out and then come back up and I’m refreshed, ready to get stuff done,” he said. “For mental clarity, I think that has really helped me a lot.”

Throughout high school, Davidson has made the most progress in his English courses, thanks to his english teacher, Susan Oswalt. 

“From where I was at ninth grade to where I am now, it’s a night and day difference, and I feel very comfortable writing,” he said. “So it’s not miserable anymore, because I feel like I can do it and do it well. I feel like that’s probably the place that I’ve improved the most would be.”

Davidson also found Quizlet,the studying website, helpful throughout in school. He said he used the site to study for tests and quizzes often. 

Though he has always excelled in math class, Davidson also learned to enjoy his history classes with his social studies teacher, Murphy Wood. 

“He’s really made me enjoy history classes, just the angle from which he teaches,” Davidson said. “And he’s really passionate about it.”

Passion is something that Springwood’s valedictorian understands. Though it wasn’t his goal, when Davidson saw his class ranking last year, it motivated him to keep it up. 

“I never thought I could do it … now that I know I can do it, it’s been a big source of motivation for me,” Davidson said. 

His strong discipline has already paid off for his plans for next year. Not only will Davidson be attending Auburn University, but he will take honors classes for his degree in mechanical engineering. 

“I want to work for myself,” Davidson said. “Hopefully, I’ll find a niche at Auburn over the next four years and find something that I can enjoy and that I’m good at and make a career out of it.”