As #fALLINforWA--the parent campaign for The Woodward Fund--continues through November 9, Jo Cranford Hodges ‘96 and Kevin Hodges ‘96 share some reflections on what Woodward means to them and their family. Not only are they alums who met at Woodward, but now they are parents of James ‘28 and Jo is also a member of the Governing Board.
From left to right: Jo ‘96, Virginia, James ‘28, Kevin ‘96, and Mary Charles
We tell people all the time that Woodward Academy is in our DNA. Not only are we fortunate to be Woodward alums (Kevin is a Vintage Eagle), but we are also so thankful that Woodward is where we first met. Woodward truly is a place where students can find themselves, and as students at Woodward in the 90s, we experienced this self-discovery every day.
For Jo, it was the debate team, where every weekend she traveled to tournaments across Georgia (and the U.S.) representing WA. For Kevin, it was model U.N., academic team, and the marching band that provided him the opportunity to excel outside of the classroom. And, although we were two completely different types of people (and still are today!), we bonded over our time together at WATV. As we think back on our involvement as students at WA, one thing we always remember is that Woodward provided these opportunities for us.
Many of these opportunities came at little to no additional costs for our families. Jo remembers meeting other students from other schools during debate tournaments and learning that these schools hosted fundraisers, car washes, and bake sales to pay their way to make it to a debate tournament. These students were shocked to hear that, at Woodward, the expenses were covered by the school. Kevin recalls the marching band traveling to every football away game and tournament; for many schools, the band could not travel because of the cost.
We know now that these opportunities were provided by gifts from The Woodward Fund. As we reflect back to our own Woodward experiences, we are forever grateful for the donors who came before us and made contributions to The Woodward Fund; their contributions directly impacted our Woodward experience and forever shaped our lives.
Now, as parents, our commitment to Woodward and The Woodward Fund is even stronger. We have seen firsthand the experiences our son James (3rd grade) has had and how The Woodward Fund affords him these opportunities. Just this past week James had the opportunity to do the morning announcements on the Primary School TV station, and immediately we were flooded with memories of our time together at WATV back in the 90s. A Primary School having a TV station? That is The Woodward Fund at work! A “collaboratory” full of every Lego and gadget he can imagine? That is The Woodward Fund at work! Riding a bus with a USB port and reading light? That is The Woodward Fund at work! Chickens on the playground? WOODWARD FUND!
Each year our family makes our contribution to The Woodward Fund a priority. We know the story about how tuition alone does not cover the full cost of educating our children, but even beyond this reason, we contribute because it's the "paying it forward" that our children need to see. We make sure James knows that his Woodward experience is made possible not just from his parents, but from all the parents, families, faculty, staff, and others who support Woodward Academy. It's the community of supporters that make our Woodward so special.