‘She went above and beyond’

Impactful teacher and coach remembered

Megan Woodward, pictured, 
passed away Sept. 29.

Photo contributed by Laura Blaydes

Megan Woodward, pictured, passed away Sept. 29.

Destiny Bryant, Digital managing editor

For SHS graduate, Ethan Knox, the power and impact of teacher Megan Woodward became apparent on the worst day of his life.
While sitting in Mrs. Woodward’s English class, Knox received a call on his cell phone from a number he did not recognize. It turned out to be Principal Brian Knight, who requested Knox to come to the office. There, Knox found out his mother had died.

“When I came back, (Megan) was joking about me getting in trouble, and I just told her (about my mom’s passing) and she actually came out from around her desk and cried with me,” Knox said.
After hearing about Knox’s situation, Mrs. Woodward started a GoFundMe for him. In an interview with Woodward last year, she talked about how she looked at all of her students as her own kids. She continuously posted updates about his financial, emotional and educational situation, and her efforts raised a total of $39,320.

“She took time out of her own days just to help me out,” Knox said. “(Helping people) came natural to her.”
Mrs. Woodward (29) passed away on Sept. 29, after a fatal fall at dance practice the day prior to the Homecoming parade. She leaves behind her husband, Wes Woodward, and children, Aeiris (7) and Quinn (22 months).

Mrs. Woodward was always one to go out of her way for her students and friends, according to dance coach and English teacher Jessica Walpole.

“She went above and beyond for everything,” Walpole said. “I mean she brought in cornmeal for her students when she was teaching about Frederick Douglas and let kids eat it if they wanted.”
Mrs. Woodward was not just a teacher at SHS. She was more than that, and she left a legacy, according to her friends and family.

“She was the most giving person,” Walpole said. “And the light she shared with all of us. Not enough of us had what she had. We need more of her in the world. She did a lot of good.”

Seniors Austin Lundsford and Elizabeth Starkey, in agreeance with Walpole, also say she was a unique teacher and that was shown through the way she genuinely cared about her current and former students.

“She always cared about your personal life. She would always get involved with what was going on at home, extracurricular activities, trying to get you involved,” Lundsford said. “She stopped being my English teacher, but she was always involved in my English classes.”

It was that involvement that made her special. She was the one to push Lunsford and recommend him for his current DC composition class. She even involved herself in coaching the dance team. She involved herself in helping Knox get back on his feet.

Mrs. Woodward not only changed the lives of students, but she changed the life of her husband as well. He says that she helped him to be more organized, especially after they “had Quinn together.” That helped pick up the pieces, but the legacy she left for him was a little different than the legacy she left on her former students and friends.

“When I met her… It seemed like we were not happy,” Wes said. “But when we met each other and got together, I think we became happy. We kind of helped each other in that way.”

While the Woodwards weren’t together very long, he believes that they just clicked and they worked together to build each other up and get through rough times together.

“We were together about three years,” Mr. Woodward said. “Doesn’t seem like a long time really, but we both got each other out of a rut, as far as our lives, and kind of (got) our lives on the right track.”

Still, Mrs. Woodward offered more to the people around her. This school year, she stepped up and became a part of the dance team, helping out Walpole. Not only did she help coach the team, but she was a part of the team.

“She would learn the dances with us. She didn’t sit down,” Walpole said. “She was always all in… and she really wanted to be part of (the team).”

Walpole describes her as quirky, crazy, and having “more energy than any human” she has ever met. At the same time, she always pushed Walpole and everyone else to do better. Her husband says she was just the same at home. He now sees everything Mrs. Woodward exhibited in their youngest daughter, Quinn, who for him is his lasting legacy of Mrs. Woodward.

“She changed my life for the better,” he said.