Devin Davis, a senior at Ticonderoga Central School, with his son, Brayden, who was born June 19, 2012, at the end of Davis’ sophomore year at school. Davis is now using his experience to teach others about the consequences of teenage pregnancy.
High school senior Devin Davis spends his days from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. focused on the same things his peers are.
Once the final school bells rings, Davis’ worries shift from that of average teenage high school student to those of a teenage father.
“I’ve learned how to go into parent mode,” Davis said. “At school, I focus on what I am doing there and when I am home, I completely shift gears.”
Davis has been able to continue to excel in school while dealing with the challenges of being a teenage parent, which led him to decide on what he would do for his senior school project, which is required for each graduate at Ticonderoga Central School.
“I want others to know what I go through,” Davis said. “There have been so many pregnancies this past year that have also been a motivator for this project. I want kids to know that it goes way beyond getting up every two hours to take care of your child. That is the easy part.”
What Davis has gone through started when he was 16, when he and his girlfriend found out she was pregnant.
“We were in denial at first,” he said. “We had our suspicions early on until one night when we were lying down and we saw her stomach roll over.”
Davis said the next step was to cope with the situation themselves.
“We hid it for six months before we told our parents or anyone else,” he said. “We were afraid, we didn’t feel it was real at first. We never thought this could happen to us. My girlfriend would go to school wearing baggy clothes. During chorus, she would faint from standing on the risers too long. Everyone would ask us if she was pregnant, and we would just keep denying it because we were still trying to cope ourselves.”
Brayden was born June 19, 2012. After what Davis described as some, “teenage drama,” he and his girlfriend reached a custody settlement.
“We have a really good relationship and do things together now,” he said.
Those experienced led Davis to reach out to RealityWorks, a company that makes baby simulators and helps provide a curriculum around learning how to take care of them.
“I knew I wanted to find infant simulators for this project,” he said. “RealityWorks has a website that was easy to use and the simulators are so much more realistic. They are thermal-regulated and they need head support.”
RealityWorks jumped behind Davis in support of the project, provided curriculum materials along with five simulators and pregnancy vests.
“I was very impressed that RealityWorks took such an interest in Devin and his project and donated over $5,000 in material and curriculum,” Superintendent John McDonald said. “He did a great job with this project and opened some people’s eyes to a problem in this area that we need to work on more.”
Davis helped to teach the curriculum throughout the school year, programming the simulators.
“I’ve had the experiences,” he said. “You can be told 100 times about these things but it doesn’t sink in like this does. We don’t think about the consequences. Not only do we talk about pregnancy through the program but also about sexually transmitted diseases and all of the other consequences.”
As part of the project, Davis presented his program to members of the Ticonderoga School Board May 29 and said he hoped the program will continue at the school.
“I would love to see the school be able to purchase 30 simulators,” Davis said.
“The board really supports this idea,” McDonald said. “Devin is committed to making younger people aware of how much your life can change with one decision and the potential consequences that will follow. To have him speak about something like this is a lot more powerful then when it comes from a teacher or myself because it is his life that has been changed forever. He is now trying to get the junior class to pick up his message and carry it on into next year.”
Davis said his message is simple, do not rick losing your teenage years.
“Don’t be naive, live your adolescence and do not give it up,” he said. “I feel like I have lost my teenage years. I also feel there are times that I am depriving my son because of trying to go through the balancing act of school and parenting. Don’t rush your life.”