Middle school teacher resigns to pursue Olympic dream in Paris 2024

Middle school teacher resigns to pursue Olympic dream in Paris 2024

Donavon Banks, who resigned from Windy Hill Middle School in Clermont last year, will compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, after finishing in the top three in the men's javelin event at the Olympic Trials. Capture via Instagram/dkbanks.

By Mivette Vega

June 26, 2024

The teacher joined Windy Hill’s teaching staff in July 2023, after relocating to Clermont to train at the National Training Center, a sports and fitness facility.

A Lake County middle school teacher not only taught his students robotics, but also that with determination and perseverance dreams do come true.

Donavon Banks, who resigned from Windy Hill Middle School in Clermont last year, will compete in the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, after finishing in the top three in the men’s javelin event at the Olympic Trials on June 23. 

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The teacher joined Windy Hill’s teaching staff in July 2023, after relocating to Clermont to train at the National Training Center, a sports and fitness facility. He resigned last May to follow his dream.

“He was a great classroom teacher,” said school Principal Kelly Cousineau. “All of the children loved him, and all of us, staff included, were inspired by his work ethic. He trained every day after school. He would tell all of us, ‘I am going to the Olympics.’ It was never ‘I hope to go’ or ‘I might go.’” 

Students and staff members encouraged Banks throughout the school year. The athlete is a Shreveport, Louisiana, native.

“The goal was twofold—to allow students to see a future Olympian in action and to get Mr. Banks accustomed to throwing in front of a large and sometimes unpredictable crowd,” the school district said in a news release.

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Banks threw 79.19 meters (259 feet, 9 inches) on June 23. According to McNeese Athletics, the news site of McNeese State University where Banks graduated, no American has met the Olympic standard of 85.50 meters (280 feet, 5 inches), that’s why a spot in the Paris games will come down to world ranking. Last month, Banks made a 82.90 throw in Arizona, which currently ranks him 19th in the world.

The 2024 Paris Olympics will begin on July 26 and will run until August 11. The javelin qualification rounds will take place on August 6.

Author

  • Mivette Vega

    Mivette Vega is a seasoned journalist and multimedia reporter whose stories center the Latino community. She is passionate about justice, equality, environmental matters, and animals. She is a Salvadorrican—Salvadorian that grew up in Puerto Rico—that has lived in San Juan, Venice, Italy, and Miami.

CATEGORIES: SPORTS
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