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Woodland Hills Senior Lauded for Taking Stand for District

Maddy Adams responded to last week's afterschool brawls in Swissvale by posting her own take on Woodland Hills on WPXI-TV's Facebook page.

When you hear the words "champion" and "Woodland Hills" in the same sentence, the first thought is one of the high school sports teams.

That was not the case Wednesday night when Woodland Hills School Board lauded high school senior Maddy Adams for being a champion of the district—using the written word.

Substitute Superintendent Alan Johnson did not directly address the brawls that broke out in Swissvale last week as Woodland Hills High School students exited their bus near the corner of South Braddock and Woodstock avenues. He had issued a statement last week regarding the matter.

But he did point out the "inspired response" to the incident that Adams wrote on WPXI-TV's Facebook page on Jan. 10. Her post, as of early Thursday morning, had 1,425 "likes" and 240 comments, including many positive ones from students, alumni and parents.

Johnson said Adams represents the typical Woodland Hills student. On Wednesday, a few board members reiterated a long-held feeling by many residents, students and staff that the local media negatively portrays the district without reporting the positive aspects.

"We have 1,300 Maddys at the school," said a staff member who introduced the high school student to the board.

Adams read her post at the meeting:

I'm writing this as a senior at Woodland Hills High School, as a response to the negative slander our school is receiving due to the actions of those who had fought at a bus stop a few days ago. This obviously hasn't been the first time our school has been on the news for fighting, assault, riots, along with several other horrendous and idiotic actions performed by my peers. It's appalling to me, however, that it's these news stories that apparently define Woodland Hills.

I've been in attendance at this district since fourth grade and have grown sick and tired of receiving pitying looks when I tell people that I attend Woodland Hills. I'm here to tell you that our school is not scum, full of trashy and uneducated students. I am part of the first class in the history of the district to make AYP this past year, however we didn't receive our own news story celebrating this fact.

I'm also a part of the Marching Band, who took first place for the first time in years at this year's competition at Baldwin, and a part of the high school musical cast, who have won more Gene Kelly awards then any other school in Allegheny County. These positive qualities, in addition to our amazing sports teams, fun clubs, and great academics, have consistently been ignored by the news.

Just once, I would like, when I tell folks I go to Woodland Hills High School, for them to mention something that has nothing to do with a slanderous story they saw on the news. Thank you for your time.

Do you think that negative media coverage has affected Woodland Hills' image? Let us know in the comments section.

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Peg Schmidt January 17, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Well said Maddy! I have supervised exchange students at Woodland Hills for the past six years and have had so many positive experiences there I could fill pages. I agree however. When I say the school name, people look at me with the question "How could you put a foreign student there?" Well let me tell you! They WELCOME my students (unlike some districts which try to restrict and limit them); the CARE for them - each year my students are presented with a certificate and school mementos at the Honor Ceremony (unlike some districts that do nothing to recognize t hem.) The student have so many opportunities, sports - (soccer, swim team, diving team, track, ultimate...), music- (band, marching band, THE MUSICAL!!!); clubs - (ski club, key club, one even started his own magic club)... I could go on. The school has so much to offer! And yes, some students are troubled there, what a surprise! Show me a high school that doesn't have troubled teens. I stand by and with Woodland Hills. Thank you Maddy!
Truther Today January 17, 2013 at 06:55 PM
It may appear wonderful to those involved or trapped in the Woodland Hills School District that students can play in a marching band or enjoy some sports. But someone along the line has apparently forgotten that the reason for school is to receive a proper education. WHSD ranks 6th from the bottom in Western Pennsylvania. Raising taxes, building larger and larger schools, busing students and packing them in like sardines has proven detrimental to the welfare of students. Students who graduate without learning the skills necessary for their adult life, may end up using or selling drugs for a living. If school districts taxed the taxpayers in proportion to the quality of the education that the students actually receive, the public would be due a refund. Charter schools and home schooling are becoming more popular. If a scholl district focused on adequate education, the people will know without any media propaganda.
Loretta Wilkinson February 04, 2013 at 10:44 AM
A big part of the problem is the inactivity.............of Alan Johnson. THAT'S the real problem!

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