Kaela Davis, valedictorian of the Summit Academy Transition High School Class of 2021, received the Summit Academy Martial Arts Leadership Award. She is now a senpai, or martial arts teacher and one step closer to receiving her Black Belt.

“Work hard and try hard because you are the one in charge of your future,” says Kaela Davis, valedictorian of the Summit Academy Transition High School Class of 2021 and newly promoted senpai, or martial arts teacher.

The recent high school graduate has followed her own advice along a path of achievements. Most notably, in her senior year of school, Davis led her classmates through a series of Therapeutic Martial Arts classes. School administrators were so impressed by Davis that she was awarded the Martial Arts Leadership Award. Now a first degree senpai, Davis is one step closer to earning her first degree Black Belt.

“The initiative Kaela displayed to lead her peers through therapeutic martial arts instruction is an incredible achievement,” says Shihan Joseph Bove, Executive Director of Therapeutic Martial Arts for Summit Academy Schools. “Kaela exemplifies the merits of therapeutic martial arts and its power to positively impact the lives of all who practice it.”

Summit Academy’s flagship therapeutic martial arts program teaches students self-esteem, respect for self and others, self-confidence and the ability to team-build. Shihan Joseph Bove explains, “It gives students the chance to put these lessons into action not only in the dojo but also in the classroom and in life.”

Kaela Davis was promoted to a first degree Senpai. She was recently presented the Martial Arts Leadership Award by her teacher, Sensei Michele McDonald (pictured at left) on behalf of Shihan Joseph Bove, Executive Director of Therapeutic Martial Arts for Summit Academy. In addition to the martial arts achievement, Kaela was also the valedictorian of her graduating class.

Described as a leader with insight beyond her years, Davis advises high school students to avoid the social hierarchy common in high schools. In other words, she tells them to stay clear of cliques.

“Trying to fit in with the crowd is exhausting and it only ends up with you feeling insecure,” says Davis, admitting to falling into the traps of peer pressure. “I have tried to be someone that I’m not and learned that I can’t stop being myself no matter how hard I tried. So, be yourself; an individual, or better yet, a unicorn amongst a sea of sheep.”

Davis’ teachers define her as a leader and advocate ahead of her time. These traits are evident through her thought-provoking conversations, polite demeaner and wisdom far beyond her years, according to Tre Davis, an intervention specialist and science teacher for the school.

“Kaela Davis is one of the most willing, helpful, talented and mature young people that I have met in any secondary school setting in which I’ve worked,” adds Christopher Smith, who teaches music at Summit Academy Transition High School – Cincinnati. “With her fantastic willingness to assist others, paired with her natural gift of social interaction, I would not be surprised if she became a teacher herself.”

Davis will continue her studies at Butler Tech, beginning in August. She plans to become a veterinary technician and, no surprise, earn her Black Belt as well.