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Why Amy Woods is our Teacher Superhero in our Local Community

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About: Amy’s true superpower is developing storytelling skills within her students through the PBS Newshour Student Reporting Labs program. Her dedication to her students as youth storytellers is unwavering. In less than a year, her students have produced pieces for PBS NewsHour platforms on topics including the uncertain futures of DACA recipients, what the recent ‘March for Our Lives’ movement meant to youth of color, and how young immigrants view gun violence. Amy’s ability to successfully guide her students through major productions that focus on the untold stories of minority communities demonstrates a superhero-like level of excellence and passion that embodies the mission of public media.

More on Amy >> https://studentreportinglabs.org/article/srl-connected-educator-month-march-2018/  

Instead of a cape she wears the biggest smile

Not all superheroes have nicknames, travel through time or know how to fly. They don’t all wear makeup, dress up in costumes and have memorable catch phrases. Some of the best superheroes exist right in our own communities even if we don’t take the time to notice. Others wonder if superheroes actually exist. As a matter of fact, I discovered a superhero at my own school. This special superhero is my Fine Arts and Media Entertainment teacher: Ms. Amy Woods. 

She may not wear a cape but she does wear the biggest smile on her face that makes her recognizable anywhere on campus. I admire her determination to provide each of her students with the best education. Ms. Woods is the most inspirational teacher that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. Not only is she a role model, but she is also a second mom to many of us. She provides each of us with the recipe for success and influences us to always stay positive no matter what situations life may send in our direction.  If we are ever sick, she always does her best to make us feel better whether by telling jokes or stories of when she was in college. She has also taught us that we all make mistakes and we need to learn from them.

Creating New Opportunities for Her Students

I still remember the first day of high school when Ms. Woods introduced herself and said that we would be learning camera and editing techniques used in the film industry. I found this class to be quite interesting. Towards the end of my freshman year, she gave me an application to join the F.A.M.E. Academy, telling me that I had the full potential of succeeding in the class. The academy provides students with hands-on training in video and film production. Students learn how to operate a camera, set-up for interviews, and create their own news packages. Before that day, I never would have imagined my future revolving around that class. Through her guidance, I have been able to learn script writing, camera operating, and editing techniques that I never would have had the opportunity to learn anywhere else. Ms. Woods has taught us how to communicate with each other and how to use our time wisely when it comes to deadlines.

Follow our Dreams and Learn from Mistakes

She might not be like the marvel characters that can save the world in a split second, but like a superhero, Ms. Woods does have extraordinary powers. One of her powers is her super strength to keep pushing forward every day, no matter what obstacles she may have to face. One of the most difficult challenges she had to overcome was the passing of her father. However, that hasn’t stopped her from raising those heavy bars to meet our educational needs. Every day, she motivates all of us to keep fighting for our dreams, to learn from our mistakes, and to never give up. Another power she has is her ability to teach us something new every day. She teaches us to stand up every time we may fall. 

Her Superpower of Guidance

And, it turns out she can fly through the sky. She was given the opportunity to literally fly with 6 of her students, including myself, to Washington D.C., where we filmed and edited a news package about the March for Our Lives gun control rally that took place on March 24. During that weekend, she used her power of guidance to help us throughout our real-time journey of being true journalists. None of us would have been able to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity without her. Although she had to make a few sacrifices to be with us, we are all very appreciative of her support.

Most superheroes have sidekicks helping them in times of need. For Ms. Woods, it’s her team of students by her side every day at her headquarters, known to everyone as “B-8.” She spends most of her time there, assisting students with their projects and providing them with more of her knowledge. She is a superhero to me because of the impact she has made in my life. There have been days where I have spent my lunch in B-8 working on projects and she’s been there, a guiding light, constantly encouraging me every step of the way. She has inspired me to become a better person. It’s ironic how at one point in time, I was afraid of being on camera; and now, I am seeking a career in the film industry. 

Taking Risks to Find New Rewards 

During my senior year, Ms. Woods offered me the opportunity to be the special segment anchor for our school news program, “Viking Vision.” At first, I wasn’t sure about taking the position, but I’m glad I did. If Ms. Woods hadn’t convinced me to take the position, then I wouldn’t have grown close to the program nor would I have decided to continue my education to pursue a major in Broadcast Journalism. I see the passion Ms. Woods has for teaching media and that gives me the motivation to pursue a career in the news industry. A few months ago, I had no idea where I was going to attend college. With her guidance, I was accepted into a private university under a Performance Scholarship in Communications. I would not have been able to obtain all of this success without Ms. Woods’ passion and dedication. 

She’s told me that everyone has those moments in their life where they need a small push to get back on track and keep fighting for their dreams. Without Ms. Woods, this program wouldn’t have continued to prosper the way it has today. She has told me multiple times that her students have made her dreams come true; but without even realizing it, she is turning our dreams into a reality. To the world, Ms. Woods, you may be a teacher, but in my eyes, you are a true superhero.

Written by Student, Zulee Escobar facilitated by Elis Estrada.

Zulee Escobar Student

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