| Ed Davis, retired after 39 years of teaching, including 21 years at Lovettsville Elementary School. Times-Mirror/John McNeilly|
Ed Davis didn’t initially know he wanted to be a school teacher.
After graduating high school in Belle Vernon, a small town just south of Pittsburgh, he headed off to college to study geology. But, Davis quickly discovered he liked playing cards more than attending class. After a couple of semesters, he told his family he was coming home to work in the steel mills, just like his dad.
Davis worked the toughest job in the mill, the blast furnace. It was searing, brutally hard work. But he was young, single and pocketing cash. When the plant laid him off a year later, though, Davis began to think again about college.
“I was definitely more mature after a year of that work,” he says. “I’d really grown up.”
He considered teaching as a profession. His sister and aunt taught, and Davis had coached youth sports for years, mentoring kids not much younger than himself. He recognized he had an affinity for dealing with young people.
But on the day he was headed back to school, the steel mill called. They wanted him back. Davis faced a tough decision: go back to college or pursue his father’s career as a steel man, which Davis makes clear he considers honorable work.
Fortunately, for more than 1,000 students, and even more parents, Davis returned to college to pursue a career in teaching.
Today, 39 years later – 21 of which were spent at Lovettsville Elementary School – the beloved teacher and Lovettsville community icon put aside his chalk and grade book, took down his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers memorabilia posted around his classroom and headed home to Sheperdstown, W.Va. to begin a well-earned retirement.
Davis describes his time at Lovettsville Elementary as “blessed.” After his first week on the job he came home and told his wife, “There’s something special about this school and community.” He lauds the involvement and support of parents over his 21 years of teaching.
“If Norman Rockwell were alive, he’d love painting Lovettsville,” says Davis.
Former students regularly pay tribute to Davis. Each year as school lets out he enjoys a steady stream of visitors.
“I love that part of it,” he exclaims. “Only, sometimes I wish they’d wear a name tag. They forget the last memory I have of them is as a fifth grader,” he says, laughing.
Loudoun County hosts an annual banquet to honor the top 10 percent of academically performing high school students. Davis has been asked an unprecedented seven times by former students to attend, despite most bringing their high school teachers.
As Davis made ready to depart his classroom for the last time, former students popped in to wish him well. He took time to ask, “What classes are you taking?” “How are your grades?” He listened intently, offered insight and advice and joked about personal memories he had of them.
Davis then proudly showed off his newest retirement treasure, given to him by appreciative parents: a large framed case of all the original tickets from each of his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers six Super Bowl victories.
As the students admired it, Davis told them he couldn’t wait to hang it in his man cave back home.
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