Monday, July 3, 2017

Knightly Knews Vol. 42 is now online!

The latest edition of our award-winning publication, the Knightly Knews, is now online and you can access it by clicking here. As a .pdf document, you can view or download the quarterly publication to your computer, iPad, or smartphone for easy reading. This Track & Field edition includes:
- Neiko Morris Scholarship
- High School Commencement Ceremony
- The Class of 2017
- Edgenuity
- Historic Track & Field Season
- Fishing Club
- Open House and Golf Tournament
- Community Service Opportunities
- Drumline
- Communication Awards

We hope you have a chance to check it out and enjoy the read.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Campus Events // Open House and Golf Tournament

On June 1, Woodward Academy hosted it’s annual Open House celebration that is hands down the most colorful event of the year. The day kicks off with an epic 5K run that asks participants to navigate a wooded trail with fallen trees, wade through a waist deep crick, and climb the “Iron Man,” a steep, muddy incline that can only be accomplished with the use of a rope. As a dorm, students and staff theme their outfits. This year, Navigator Hall came through with one of the most inventive in recent memory, with their runners dressing as Pac-Man characters. The winner of the race was staff member Josh Pauley from the dorm Delta Company.
   
Each event throughout the day is a part of a larger competition with students on each dorm strategically participating in events. After the race, a 3 on 3 basketball tournament occured next to a muddy tug of war contest, at the same time as students participated in a bag toss competition. Each awarded points to the dorms, with this year’s overall winner being Navigator Hall.
   
Beyond the student events, guests of the Open House can get tours of the campus, and can meet with their students. The weather was beautiful and the day went off flawlessly. Special thanks to teacher Justin Schmauss and Educational Liaison Aric Rush for organizing the day. You can see images from the day on your Knight Pics website.

The 8th annual Knight’s Scholarhip Golf Outing was held for the first time at the Honey Creek Golf Course in Boone, Iowa. This year, 71 golfers participated in the event that helped raise money for the Lifetime Commitment Fund that annually helps Woodward Academy alumni as they move into the next stage of their life. Over the past 7 years, this fund has paid for college tuition, apartment furnishings, and even travel expenses for one alum who participated in the USA Track & Field Indoor
National Championships.
   
This year, over $5,800 was raised for the fund with an additional $1,000 being donated by Aureon,
a local technology company that offers customizable technology, HR, and contact center solutions. To date, this annual tournament has raised $45,800, all of which has gone toward helping students achieve their post-Woodward Academy goals. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Fishing Club

Many of the great Woodward Academy activities originated from the passion of a particular staff member. The historic powerlifting program began as a weight lifting club, and the well-dressed drumline was started in a general music class. One of the next great things to happen at Woodward Academy could be the Fishing Club.
   
Woodward Academy is surrounded by rural land, including some small creeks. Luke Corrick, a Group Leader on campus, started taking some of his primary students fishing to help generate a relationship with them, spend time outdoors, and to teach them about a passion of his that he was first exposed to as a youth. He decided to take this casual weekend activity with students on his dorm, and open it up to more students in the form of the Fishing Club.
   
As the Club got underway, he started having aspiration of doing with the program. In February, he started emailing different tournament organizations all over Iowa. His first response was from Steve Miller from Oxbow Bandits Bass Club in Sioux City, Iowa, who said that he’s love to have some guys come and compete in their youth tournament they hold at Blue Lake every year.
   
On June 3rd, the Woodward Academy team caught 9 total fish on that day, with two of them at the legal length of 15 inches. For their first tournament, they finished 5th out of 10 total high school teams and represented the Academy well. Corrick hopes to get the team in one more tournament this summer and already has ideas on how to expand the Fishing Club for next year.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Neiko Morris Scholarship

On May 17, two Woodward Academy graduating students received the Neiko Morris Scholarship in remembrance of the former student leader on campus. Neiko was the perfect student for Woodward Academy: he was an excellent student, involved himself in student government, being an Executive Knight on his dorm, and participated in several athletic teams including the 2015 state basketball team.
   
Months later, he left us all with more questions than answers and gave us all a stark reminder the difficulties that many teens face. The statistics point to the fact that we are living in an epidemic:

Children aged 10 to 14, death by suicide is now more common than death from traffic accidents.
In 2014, suicide rates were higher than homicide rates for males and females of all age groups.
While suicide was the 10th leading cause of death among the U.S. population in 2014, it was the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24.
   
Earlier this year, Neiko’s parents reached out to Woodward Academy and offered the generous gift of a financial scholarship to a pair of high school graduates who plan to attend college. Moved by their sentiment, the Management Team at Woodward Academy decided to match that gift for those students to help pay for tuition, books, or other things they may need.
   
The questions of “why” these things happen will never go away and we all now have to live with the looming feeling that we could have done more with our time with him. These feelings are no more powerful than with his parents. His time at Woodward Academy mattered and his parents saw that in him. He was laid to rest in his Knights jacket, a sentiment that he is forever a Knight. We report a lot of student opportunities and success, and as a school we are very proud of those things. But Neiko proves to us that there is more work that can be done and we will continue to do that work.
   
This scholarship is a way to honor him and make a difference in another Knight’s life. The two recipients of the scholarship were Ammari Johnson, a standout WA athlete who plans on attending Iowa Central Community College, and Destry Johnson, who anticipates attending college in his home area of the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Class of 2017 // Video

On May 17, the graduating Class of 2017 was honored with a commencement ceremony in the WA gymnasium. During the 2016-2017 academic school year, 51 students either received their high school diploma or Hi-SET equivalent, which is the largest graduating class in school history. The event was the culmination of a life-changing path that the students decided to take while at Woodward Academy. Many would admit that graduating was an unattainable dream and something that was not meant for them. But now that dream is complete where no one can take it from them.

Many parents and family members were able to attend the ceremony and the gymnasium was loud. When handing out diplomas, Lead Teacher William Terry noted how it is often protocol to hold applause until the end, but said "At Woodward Academy, we don't do it that way." As he read off the list of graduates, the student section exploded as they cheered for their dorm mates, and there was more than a couple tears of joy shed from the audience.

Principal Cory Wenthe began the ceremony with an introduction, and Group Living Director, Trent Fleshner, announced that seniors Ammari Johnson and Destry Johnson were recipients of the Neiko Morris Scholarship, a generous gift from the parents of a student alum. Senior speakers included Darnell Green, who talked about when he first started contemplating his future was mid-sprint at a track meet last year, as well as seniors Casey Bynum and Destry Johnson. Keynote speaker, Mark Wills, had a great uplifting speech where he challenged students to be their best and reminded them that this day was not the last time they will graduate from something, and that committing themselves and graduating from anything is a good day.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Track & Field Season Recap 2017 // Video

The 2017 track & field season will forever be seen as one of the best in school history. No other group of athletes have embraced the team aspect of a very individual sport quite like this year's squad. Since the first year of the track & field program in 2007, Woodward Academy has a long tradition of excellence in the sport with a couple state champions ('07 and '14) and team district championships ('11 and '14). Neither of those things happened this season, but this year's team rewrote the school record book in more ways than one. 

"Overall, this was a really fun group to coach. What makes this team different than past years to me is their attention to detail in perfecting what they did. Whether it was a handoff, a hurdle, warming up for a race, or how they come out of the blocks, this team was very specific with how they trained and prepared for events," said Head Coach Shaun Mohon. This team adopted the theme of "meet the standard," and the team really pushed themselves and their coaching staff to embrace it every day. "This group ran with the theme and you could see it throughout their workouts, meets, and in day to day life as track athletes."

By mid-April, the hard work in practice was starting to show dividends in meets. The team got their first win of four, which tied a school record, at Central Decatur on April 11. They followed that meet up a week later with their second win at Van Meter. The winning pushed this team even harder in practice and they rallied around each other. They knew their end goal was to compete with the best in the state. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Weekend of Possibilities

Last weekend from Thursday through Sunday, over 150 students left Woodward Academy's campus to participate in school activities and community service projects across central Iowa. With the spring season here, the Woodward Academy student schedule is ramping up and students are having opportunities to get involved in a variety of ways.

The bulk of the travel started Friday when students from the track & field team traveled to Ogden High School, 18 miles north of Woodward, where they won their 4th meet of the year. Back on campus, a number of beautification projects were underway in preparation for the upcoming graduation and Open House events. Flowers were planted, shrubs were trimmed, and rock was laid as landscaping around several campus buildings.

The next day, students helped a local church in Madrid (6 miles east), others took care of little league softball fields in Perry (11 miles west), and others got an agricultural lesson when they helped out at a local grain silo just outside of Woodward. But the majority of students traveled north to Ames (29 miles) and the campus of Iowa State University. Fifteen students worked for Knights on the Move, the Academy's local moving company, and moved furniture for a sorority on campus, while 65 students helped ISU by working at Jack Trice Stadium during their commencement ceremony. This year, Iowa State had a record number of graduates (5,093 candidates), and Woodward Academy students provided their families and friends with concessions during the event.

For many facilities, juggling the track event, community services projects, Knights on the Move, and helping with the ISU graduation, could turn into a logistical problem when considering staff coverage and transportation. But for Woodward Academy, the more opportunities for students to get off campus and to engage with the community, the better it is for the students, and Woodward Academy as a whole. Our students consistently demonstrate what it means to be a Knight, and that is worth it. Go Knights!