Dr. Anne Turcea, a 1994 Danville High School graduate, is Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center's first female chief of medical staff. She lives in Danville and has a child in the Danville Independent School District who is a freshman at DHS.
“I think what makes this district special is the caliber of the teachers and their interest in the specific wellbeing of your child," Turcea said. "I feel like they know my child and they know her well, and they care for her and they want her to be challenged and to grow. And they provide a really safe space for that."
She talked about her time as a student in the district and the importance of both representation and school districts accepting students as they are.
Q: Tell us about your Danville Schools journey. What school(s) did you attend, and what’s a highlight that stands out to you?
I attended Jennie Rogers and Bate Middle and Danville High School, and then I guess something that stood out to me as a Danville student was that I was the editor of the school paper. Virginia Biles was my teacher at the time. And that was a lot of fun, a lot of independence. It was really interesting, and I got to write, which I really liked. I got into both Governor’s School for the Arts for writing and the Governor’s Scholars Program. I think the writing piece was attributable to my time on the newspaper staff.
Q: What aspects of your Danville Schools education helped mold you into the person you are today?
I think having teachers that were very interested in my wellbeing, academically and just as a person. Because I was a weird kid — my senior superlative was not "best smile," which would have been an option, not "most likely to succeed," also an option — my senior superlative was "most interestingly dressed." If you were to find a 1994 school yearbook, you would see me dressed very grunge. And the thing was, I got to be "most interestingly dressed" and still really smart and really cared-for, and no one gave me a hard time about it. They kind of accepted me as me and let me do my thing. And that felt really reassuring and really validating and probably helped me have the confidence to be in, now, all-male spaces, very high-activity spaces, like the operating room and delivering babies. I think that Danville Schools really helped me be confident because it helped me be me.
Q: When you think back on your Danville Schools experience, are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you as having had a significant impact on your success since graduating?
Ms. Biles from the school paper, because she really allowed me to have a lot of creativity and independence. I think that was really important. Patricia Calvert had just started at Danville High School in the science department. She was a woman in science, which you didn’t always see. Certainly you see more now, but you didn’t always see them then. And it was really nice to see a woman in the science department. I think that was important. So I think Ms. Calvert’s representation was important to me as well.
Q: As a product of Danville Schools, what advice would you give to a parent who was choosing an education path for their child?
Consider the child first. Consider the child before you consider the school, meaning is your child an independent kid? Does your child need more nurturing? Is your child anxious or very independent? Basically, don’t mold your child to the school system — pick the school system that best serves your child.
Q: As a product of Danville Schools, what drives you to give back to your local school and/or district?
I’m just really proud, and I really loved Danville, and I think it is a great place with a lot of good, interesting people. I think I’m just really proud of it.
This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories
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