Davina Chunoo was one of the first eighth-graders at Gotha Middle School when it opened its doors. She returned in 2014 as the ADDitions coordinator and, later, was PTO president. She is one of the 2021-22 Orange County Public Schools Support Person of the Year finalists.
What brought you to your school?
My daughter was a student at Gotha Middle School. I wanted to be involved in the school community, so I became an ADDitions volunteer. As a volunteer, I served as our PTO president and SAC member.
What do you love most about your school?
The school spirit! Our students and staff love to go all out for all spirit theme days. I also love our strong sense of community at Gotha; our students and staff view each other as family. We take pride in our acceptance of diversity and inclusivity.
What is your motivation?
My motivation to do what I do is knowing that every day is a chance to bring a meaningful experience to someone. Through my various roles within OCPS and in the community, I am able to impact people — whether it be through a small interaction or an SGA field trip — that person will leave remembering the positive experience that was shared.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my career is being a Daymaker. Defined by David Wagner, a Daymaker is a person who performs intentional acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place. I have had various roles at Gotha that have allowed me the opportunity to reach many individuals on campus and in the community, helping to make their world and ours a better place one moment at a time.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school and why?
My favorite Teacher Trifecta comes from my time at West Orange High School. Mrs. Wendy Cartwright, Mr. David Laniewski and Mr. Peter Abatiello are three influential teachers who positively impacted my siblings and myself. Their impact on our family was not only in teaching academics but (also) teaching invaluable leadership and life skills.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus. I loved her fashionable outfits and sense of adventure while teaching and inspiring along the way.
What is your favorite children’s book?
“The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss. He was small and mighty. He spoke for those who had no voice and cared deeply for the world he lived in.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
I would love to have the powers that Storm from Marvel comics has. I could help protect the world from natural disasters.
What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student?
Pizza. It was a favorite then and remains a favorite now.
What are your hobbies?
I love arts and crafts. I am always trying a new DIY.
What is your favorite holiday?
Recently it became Halloween because of our Gotha Middle annual pumpkin contest! We picked pumpkins from our local farm, then our staff competed against one another to create the best decorated pumpkin. To make it even better, our community gets in on the action by casting their vote for their favorite.
Who was your best friend when you were in school?
I am fortunate to have two amazing lifelong friendships with Jessica and Katy. The three of us have been friends since middle school. We attended Robinswood Middle and then Gotha Middle when it opened. We still keep in touch and go on a mini trip together at least once a year.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I was a National Honor student, a member of the band playing Alto Saxophone and was part of our Color Guard. I also served in our Student Council.
— JIM CARCHIDI
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