Woodland Worldwide is always coming up with new ways to educate the community about feminism and the struggles women and children face around the world. Its latest idea: to nominate girls and women from the local community to be celebrated for their achievements during March, which is Women’s History Month.
Co-leaders Meghan Geary and Lisa Olivere say the idea aligns with Woodland Worldwide’s goal to tie Women’s History Month back to the local community. They feel that though students spend time in classes studying female historical figures, drawing attention to modern female change makers has a greater resonance and educational value.
As a school, the student body and faculty were able to nominate women they thought qualified as the changemakers of today, which led to the final list of women who will be recognized in March for their contributions to the local community:
- Victoria Baliga, a junior at Woodland, who speaks her mind freely and fearlessly draws attention to issues that affect marginalized people.
- Jess Block, english and history teacher at Woodland, wholly devotes herself to her students and advocates for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Kris Burns, school psychologist at Woodland, is a fierce advocate for children and continuously changes the lives of students.
- Eleana Cambra, junior at Woodland, perseveres in her advocacy for women’s rights despite receiving criticism from others.
- Jasmine Coppola, senior at Woodland, works tirelessly to make a difference in politics and help others do the same.
- Riley Dunican, senior at Woodland, advocates for all citizens, regardless of their race, gender, or religion.
- Bayan Galal, senior, has brought the school together and broadened students’ horizons through events such as the governor’s forum in her role this year as student body president.
- Natalie Katrenya, senior, is one of the first female members of the male-dominated timber team at Woodland. She is also a member of the swim team, an honors student, and is involved in band as a talented trumpet player.
- Emily Laput, freshman, is greatly involved in fundraising for causes such as Seymour Pink, which aim to find a cure for breast cancer. Of notable mention are also her leadership qualities and generosity towards others.
- Kristen Lengyel, art department head, sets an excellent example to young women as a wife and mother who still finds time to practice her passions such as yoga, photography, and dance.
- Carmen Melchione, senior, is involved in Best Buddies, Unified Sports, and the cheerleading team. She is also celebrated for her friendliness and ability to make people feel welcome.
- Abigail Messina, freshman, is a class officer of the class of 2022 and works tirelessly as an advocate for civil rights and feminism.
- June Rydzik, secretary at Woodland, treats everyone like a family member and does her job with a smile on her face everyday.
- Aisha Yusuf, senior, contributes an irreplaceable knowledge to classroom discussions, which comes from her love of reading and subsequent understanding of others in the world and the challenges they face.
The project collaborates with Advanced Photography class 2A led by Woodland Art Department Head Kristen Lengyel. Every student has been assigned one nominee to capture her achievements and personality through a photo.
Throughout March, those photos will be displayed at Woodland so that students and faculty members can recognize the women contributing to the school community and embody their spirit to make changes of their own around them.