A walk around Shorewood High School with Antoine Davis, SHS ’12, and Brandon Hemphill, SHS ’06, reveals that their popularity is practically unmatched across campus.
As two of four campus supervisors for the school, they have an extremely important job: to build positive relationships with students and focus on safety, security and conflict resolution.
“I like to say that we fill in the cracks,” Davis says. “We are that bridge between teachers and students. I think of us as youth mentors of sorts, guiding and directing students in different ways to tackle situations.”
Hemphill explains that they are liaisons, helping to guide students through daily life at school and even at home. “We are the eyes and ears on campus, making sure everyone feels safe and heard,” he says. “We take huge pride in being proactive and nipping conflicts in the bud. We do a lot of mediations between teachers and students, and among students, to help the parties better understand each other. We also make sure to lobby for our students and let them know that there is always someone in their corner.”
While neither Hemphill nor Davis expected to return to their alma mater in a professional capacity, they’re happy to have found this opportunity to make an impact in a place that had a big impact on them. Both hold fond memories of their high school experiences and of the staffers who helped them succeed.
Davis, an athlete who participated in football, wrestling and track while at SHS, says his favorite classes were math and English, thanks to his dedicated teachers.
“I took math with Mr. Thibedeau for all four years, and he really went the extra mile to make sure I understood the concepts,” Davis says. “Mrs. Mooney, who taught my Comp for College class, was also very good at teaching to where students were at, and she was always so excited about the subject that it was hard not to get excited. Through these teachers, I learned the importance of patience and good communication.”
Hemphill says he vividly remembers his days on the high school football team and his favorite classroom teachers.
“We didn’t win a lot (at football),” he says, “so it taught me to be resilient and keep pushing on even when things weren’t going my way.” He also calls SHS Principal Tim Kenney, then a math teacher at SHS, and New Horizons Instructional Director Bohdan Nedilsky “huge role models to me” and says they “would always go above and beyond” to help him absorb lesson material and set him up for success. “They always showed that they cared about me,” he says. “They were a big reason I got through high school, and they believed that I could one day be a teacher.”
Though Hemphill and Davis were fortunate to find mentors in some of their teachers, they agree that the addition of campus supervisors has been crucial to the SHS student experience. “Having been SHS students ourselves, we have this unique perspective where we can understand what the students are going through and that counts for a lot,” Hemphill says. “High school is so confusing on its own, so having someone you trust to help you navigate this time in your life and give you good advice is essential.” “I feel like we are making a real impact,” agrees Davis. “Having these kids trust and understand you is the best feeling. We work through things together, and we learn from situations together. We really are one unit, one family.”
[Pictured: Campus supervisors and SHS graduates Antoine Davis (center) and Brandon Hemphill (to Davis' right) check in with a group of Shorewood High School students. Photo by Patrick Manning.]
This story is also published in the Shorewood Today magazine.