What does it mean to be a Woodward Academy Knight? For many students, they would tell you that they have changed. That they are more mature and polite. They listen to feedback and are open to ideas. They are respectful, kind, caring, have empathy, and they have reflected on their past. They know what they did, and they now understand the ramifications of those actions.
As staff members, we initiate this difficult change and delight in watching it take hold in students. But that change happens on our campus, in isolation to the rest of the world. Few people see it happen, and even less think that it can. Eventually, many of our students must confront the fact that some people still think that they are criminals… that they are lazy and lack self-discipline, that they cannot amount to anything. So perhaps the greatest characteristic of a Knight is having grit and the desire to overcome those obstacles, because “those people are wrong.”
Over the course of their stay at Woodward Academy, these students have come to that conclusion honestly. Their change is authentic, and now they see their future as bright as ever. Months ago, these students were on a collision course toward incarceration, or an even worse fate. Now they can say “I am a Woodward Academy Knight. I will never accept negative behavior. I will never quit.”
What is the ripple effect of this change? The goal is to help every student who attends Woodward Academy with their immediate micro-behavioral needs. We want them to be kind and respectful, and be able to listen. They must suppress some of their immediate behavioral urges, and get rid of others all together. For many students, this can happen very quickly (within weeks), and it starts them on the path toward the real benefit of being a Knight. On a macro level, this change takes hold to course correct their life. It serves a long term purpose so that they will be able to share their wisdom with their brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends. Being a Knight means that our students have an opportunity to be a quality student, a great son, and eventually a good employee, spouse, mentor, and father. That is what happens when you Become a Woodward Academy Knight, and that is how you change tomorrow.