Shelby Davis

Shelby and Gale Davis visit UWC East Africa

The American philanthropist and UWC patron Shelby Davis and his wife Gale Davis visited UWC East Africa for the first time in January 2023. They spent time on both of our campuses Moshi and Arusha. Shelby and Gale were welcomed with enthusiasm from the youngest to oldest students and staff members and shared with us an unforgettable experience in the name of the inspiring power of education. 

The couple arrived on Moshi Campus at around 10 am on 27th January and proceeded to have coffee with teaching staff during break time. Thereafter they met our youngest student leaders – the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Student Voice. The young leaders gave them a tour of the PYP classrooms and play areas and shared stories of their daily activities. Shortly after, Middle Years Programme (MYP) students took Shelby and Gale around the rest of the academic block before they sat down to chat with the new Student Government to learn more about student life on Moshi campus.

The second half of the day included a school assembly and lunch with students who are part of the Davis-UWC Dare to Dream programme and future Davis UWC scholars -the Davis scholarships that allow our alumni to pursue university level education-. Everyone in attendance was excited to hear from Shelby and Gale, who shared the inspiring message of how the world can only be changed by people who dare to dream, and who then take action to make those dreams reality. While the Davis scholarships allow each year twenty students in our school to breathe life into their dream, Shelby and Gale finally shared how they themselves have been inspired by our community to keep daring to dream. The assembly was not short of entertainment. The UWCEA Community Choir sang a welcoming tune,  the African Dance Club performed a series of Afro beats dances and PYP students closed the assembly with our famous UWC Mission song. There was even a surprise snippet of the Beauty and the Beast performance that was opening later in the week. 

Over lunch the Dare to Dream students and IBDP second year students who have been accepted to Davis partner universities and colleges, gifted Shelby and Gale UWC East Africa merchandise as a token of appreciation for the many dreams they helped come true. Shelby and Gale departed the campus to the greetings of our students, leaving behind the memory of an unforgettable day for all our community.

Shelby and Gale arrived on Arusha Campus in time for lunch on Monday 30th January. After the meal, MYP students took them on tour of the residential houses, the sports facilities and secondary and primary classrooms. While on the  tour, Shelby and Gale stopped by a science class and witnessed several volcano experiments done by PYP students. After the campus tour, Arusha campus students who are part of the Dare to Dream Programme and future Davis university scholars had the opportunity to converse with Shelby and Gale and share with them their achievements of having been selected to continue their education in some of the Davis Partner Universities. On their hand, Shelby and Gale left them with many stories of their life experience and the advice to always save something for a rainy day.

On Tuesday, Shelby and Gale returned to Arusha campus in the morning and joined the whole school assembly where they met the rest of the student body. A group of IBDP students expressed their gratitude for the opportunities offered by the Davis UWC Scholars Program by “giving Shelby and Gale their flowers”. The presentation of flowers was followed by a discussion on our students’ plans, goals and hopes for their life after graduation. Two students then closed the assembly with a breathtaking performance of “Let it be” by the Beatles that left the crowd, Shelby and Gale included, singing along. 

Afterwards a few parents and teachers joined Shelby and Gale for a cup of coffee and a briefing from the campus Sustainability Committee, which this year greatly focused on reducing the school’s carbon emissions by controlling food waste, investigating carbon offsetting projects in Tanzania and working towards a plastic free campus.

In conclusion, the visit of Shelby and Gale to UWC East Africa was a truly memorable and inspirational experience for our entire community. Throughout their visit to both the Moshi and Arusha campuses, Shelby and Gale engaged with students of all ages, from the youngest primary learners to the graduating Diploma students. Their genuine interest in our students’ dreams and aspirations was evident in every interaction. Shelby and Gale’s visit was a remarkable chapter in our school’s history, and we are deeply grateful for their unwavering support and dedication to our community. We look forward to continuing to work together to nurture the dreams of our students and make a positive impact on the world.