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.