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The memory of former Wayne County educator Judy Davis is being honored with a donation to Wayne Middle School library in her name as well as the start of a fundraiser organizers hope will help students gain a love for reading.

WAYNE — An educator who spent much of her life teaching in Wayne County Schools is being honored with an initial donation and continuing fundraiser to help update the Wayne Middle School library.

Judy Davis, who died Nov. 24, 2021, in her home in North Carolina, was a well-known and influential educator in the Wayne district, having spent 35 years as a reading teacher at both Wayne and Ceredo Kenova schools.

Davis was known for her love of teaching, and for always having a book in her hand or by her side.

When she died, her nephew Chris Dickerson set up a donation fund in hopes he could find the best way possible to honor her memory.

“Judy always loved reading and she loved to teach children to read and the love to read, so I wanted to do something that would honor that part of her,” he said. “I approached Tish Smith at Wayne Middle School and asked if there was anything a donation could help with and we went from there with a plan to update the school library.”

Dickerson kicked off the project with a $600 donation, which was gathered at Davis’ memorial services.

“She spent her life in Wayne County schools and she had a passion for reading, so the library seems like the perfect marriage of her passions,” he said.

Wayne Middle School assistant principal Tish Smith said the funds will be used to purchase books for the school’s library.

“Part of the way you inspire children to read is to find books that peak their interest. Finding the genre of books that suits them will create lifelong readers,” she said. “However, to do that, the material must be available for them and it must be relevant and up to date, and the library definitely needed some changes to do so.”

Smith said the school is so happy to be involved in the tribute to Davis, and the library involvement is the perfect representation of her life and service to children.

“This donation is such a testament of her life of service that she loved,” she said. “That life of service touched so many who continue living their lives in the shadow of her influence.”

Smith said the middle school specifically is the perfect place to spark a love for reading because students that age are very impressionable.

“This is where students can develop an interest in reading for enjoyment,” she said. “We can help foster that development by helping to incorporate high-interest books in their daily reading selection.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the Judy Davis Memorial fund at Wayne Middle School can do so by dropping off or mailing a check to the school. The checks should be made payable to Wayne Middle School (Library Fund in memory of Judy Davis in the memo field) and mailed to 200 Pioneer Road, Wayne, WV 25570.

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