Woodward strong

English teacher’s brightness shines two years after her passing

“She was a really motivational person, very upbeat, very positive, so in all aspects of our friendship she was like a lightbulb,” English teacher Jessica Walpole said. “She was just very bright.” 

Walpole speaks of former SHS English teacher, Megan Woodward, a very close friend and coworker that she grew to know. With their shared coaching of the dance team, working in the same hallway and a mutual friendship their kids shared, Walpole says their friendship had many aspects. For Walpole, losing Woodward has been difficult. 

Woodward died following a tragic accident on September 28, 2017. Sitting on the tailgate of a truck while watching the dance team practice for homecoming, the truck moved forward and she fell off of it and hit her head. She passed the next day on September 29 and left behind husband Wes Woodward and their daughters Quinn and Aeiris.

“There’s not really a day that goes by when I pull into the parking lot (that I don’t) think about her,” Walpole said, “Or when I walk past her room, think about her when my daughter comes to the school. She’s always like ‘there’s baby Quinn’s mom’s classroom.’” 

Walpole says she struggles with both witnessing the accident and having to be strong for others at school, though she says every day is just a work in progress. Even though she is still working through her emotions, Walpole feels that Woodward lives on in many ways. According to Walpole, the dance team carries Woodward’s spirit and the students she taught embody different characteristics that she instilled within them.

According to senior Hailey Pardue, a member of the dance team, Woodward was highly respected by all the girls, and they will continue to respect her. Pardue says that Woodward was always able to put smiles on the team’s faces. Pardue feels that Woodward lives on through all her students, the teachers she knew and her family. 

“Everybody just knows of her brightness,” Pardue said. “I just love her and she’s still living to this day in our hearts.”

Contributed by Heather Todero
English teacher Heather Todero has a tattoo commemorating Woodward and her love for snails.

Another dance team member, senior Makayla Maxwell, said Woodward inspired her. According to Maxwell, Woodward didn’t really care about others’ opinions. Woodward wanted to help everyone, which inspires Maxwell to do the same.

In the beginning, Maxwell says it was difficult knowing that Woodward wasn’t going to be coming back. However, Maxwell feels the incident brought everyone on the dance team closer together and made all of them a lot stronger. They say “Woodward Strong” at competitions to remind others what Woodward stood for, being compassionate and being there for people when they need it. Maxwell says they all try to lead like she did.

English teacher and dance coach Heather Todero says Woodward was a close friend. They met during department meetings on Mondays and made casual conversation. Initially, Todero was unsure about Woodward, but they grew close over time. For Todero, losing Woodward has been very hard and traumatic.

Todero says Woodward would always try to make her better, not only than what she already was but better than what she thought she could be. According to Todero, Woodward always tried to push others to do things they didn’t think they could do. 

Todero says that Woodward was a safe spot for her, and as a result Todero now tries to be there for anyone else who needs someone to be there for them. Todero remembers Woodward fondly as someone who was persistent, dedicated and “a bit out there” but someone who would try to be there for others.

“She’s always that person that tries to make everybody better,” Todero said, “even at the cost of herself if that makes sense. So, yeah, she was tenacious.”