A Family Tradition: Michael Sorrow ‘92 on What it Means To Be a Woodward Legacy Family

The upcoming issue of the Woodward Magazine features some of our legacy families who have made GMA / Woodward a family tradition by attending the Academy over multiple generations. In 2019, our graduating class featured 13 legacy families, and in 2020 we’ll be graduating an astounding 18 students whose parents attended Woodward, and 2 more whose grandparents attended the school. 

The extended Sorrow / Greene legacy family has multiple graduates in both the class of 2019 and 2020 (see their full Woodward family lineage below). While working on the story for the magazine, we interviewed Michael Sorrow ‘92 (son of Debra Harper Sorrow ‘71; husband of current teacher Meredith Greene Sorrow ‘92; father to Michael Sorrow ’19, Perrin Sorrow ’20, and Griffin Sorrow ’23; and uncle to Lauren Greene ’15, David Greene ’19, and Avery Greene ’20… again, see their full WA family tree below!).

Michael’s interview provided great insight into Woodward as a family legacy and tradition, and while we couldn’t include all of his answers in the magazine story, please enjoy the full uncut interview below.

 

Woodward Magazine: Why do you think your parents decided to send you to WA? How do you think your mother's experience played into the decision?  

Michael Sorrow ‘92: My mother (Debra Harper Sorrow ‘71) had a wonderful three years at WA. She had the opportunity to meet great people and found that it was an excellent comprehensive educational experience. She believed that WA offered more opportunities than she found in other schools. These opportunities became the foundation for future endeavors, and she wanted her children to experience WA, as well. 

WM: How did you decide to send your children to WA? What went into that decision?

MS: My wife (Meredith Greene Sorrow ‘92) and I experienced first-hand how our education at Woodward prepared us for college and beyond. We wanted to ensure our children had those same opportunities. Woodward is set apart from other schools as it focuses on not only preparing children for the next steps,  but preparing them to be leaders in all facets of their lives.

We wanted to expose our children to academic challenges that developed higher-order thinking skills and established significant problem-solving abilities. We also knew WA had opportunities for athletics and the arts that were a caliber above most high schools. Our kids could pursue many different interests and grow among teachers and coaches who were outstanding role models and people. 

Also, the opportunity to connect in a genuine way with many people who come from so many different backgrounds was  a major motivator for our decision to place our children at WA. Woodward has been producing successful students and helping to develop valuable contributors to the world for over 100 years, so the potential outcome of our investment is worth the sacrifice.

WM: Given all your family history and connections to WA, how would you describe your relationship to the school? 

MS: Woodward Academy is an extension of our immediate family in many ways. From the administrators and faculty to the support staff, we have been positively impacted not only from an educational perspective, but more importantly, we have developed deep, meaningful, lifelong friendships with those who have invested in us and our children. My wife, Meredith, was a teacher at WA for seven years (1995-2002) prior to having children. She has returned to teach 8th Grade Math at WA this ’19-’20 school year. She is blessed to impact the lives of those she teaches, just as those teachers and administrators before her impacted her.

WM: How have you witnessed the school change over the years? What's your favorite part about your children's current experience as compared to yours or your mother’s?

MS: WA certainly has changed in the 40+ years our family has been a part of it. The facilities are the most notable visible difference. The campus is much larger and more beautifully maintained. The quantity of students and faculty is certainly much larger, and the range of student backgrounds has widened as well. Today, Woodward reaches more students with high capabilities in various areas. A favorite aspect of our children’s current experience at WA is the one most in keeping with what Woodward always was: FAMILY. We are most pleased to watch our children form deep friendships with fellow students and faculty and are thankful Woodward continues to keep family as its focus.

 

The Harper/Sorrow/Greene Lineage at Woodward:

    • Dr. Byron F. Harper Jr. - grandfather of Michael F. Sorrow, Jr., Board Member- Children who attended WA:
      • *Debra Harper Sorrow (’71)
      • Holly Harper Adams
      • Lindy Harper Hale
      • Dr. Byron F. Harper III
      • Rick Harper
    • Debra Harper Sorrow- Children who attended WA:
      • *Michael F. Sorrow Jr., (’92) 
      • Brian Sorrow (’95)
      • Lindy Sorrow Turner
      • Haley Sorrow
    • Meredith Greene Sorrow (’91) married Michael F. Sorrow, Jr.- Children who attend(ed) WA:
      • Michael F. Sorrow, III (’19)
      • Perrin L. Sorrow, (’20)
      • Griffin R. Sorrow (’23)
    • Meredith’s Brother - David Greene and Dan Greene (’84) attended WA
    • David Greene- Children who attend(ed) WA:
      • Lauren Greene (’15)
      • David Greene (’19)
      • Avery Greene (’20)
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