Several students had written letters to Davis, citing her as an influential young person who had inspired them to “make history.”
Philadelphia native Mo’ne Davis knows what it means to “make history.”
In 2014, millions watched Davis “make history” in the Little League World Series at age 13 as she became the first African-American girl to play in the series, the first female pitcher to win a game in the series and the first female pitcher to pitch a shutout in the series.
So when students at Mt. Laurel’s Countryside Elementary School were asked to write letters to influential young people who had inspired them to “make history,” several students thought Davis was a good choice.
What they didn’t know was that Davis would be so impressed with the letters she would want to meet the authors in person.
Yet that’s exactly what happened when Davis, who turns 17 on June 24, dropped by Countryside’s library this week for about a half hour to take questions from around 60 of the school’s fourth-grade students.
Davis said she never imagined she would be a person in a position to get letters like those she received from the Countryside students.
“It’s pretty cool to get all those letters,” Davis said. “It was fun to read them, and it’s kind of crazy to think at my age that kids would write to me and look up to me, because I’m still so young.”
Students asked Davis a wide variety of questions during the half-hour Q-and-A session, ranging from what her current favorite sports are, how it felt to play as the only girl on teams with all other players boys, how she spends her free time and what her favorite subjects are in school.
Davis also shared advice with students on the need to practice and stay dedicated to accomplish their goals in life.
Also at the event was Steve Bandura, the founder and program director of the Anderson Monarchs sports and youth development organization in South Philadelphia.
Bandura was the first to bring Davis into organized sports and has coached her throughout her career.
Yet when speaking before the Countryside students this week, Bandura said the most important information he wanted students to know was that Davis was an excellent student in addition to her athletic accomplishments.
“She earned her way into Springside Chestnut Hill Academy,” Bandura said. “She’s been there since the end of second grade and she’s planning for college.”
Countryside fourth-grade teacher Tina Gentile said Davis’ visit was important for students to learn not just about Davis’ athletic accomplishments, but how students can balance athletic accomplishments with academics.
Gentile said students had a lot of questions about moving forward in their lives and what lessons they could take away from Davis’ example.
“They were really just moved by what she was able accomplish and how she didn’t let barriers get in her way,” Gentile said.
Davis also brought copies of her book, “Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name” to sign for the students who wrote letters to her, and before she left she took a picture with students as well.