The tree has always been a symbol of importance at Woodlawn, both because of the sheer number of them on our campus and because of what they teach us by example: resilience and grace through inevitable changes; the value of independence and interdependence; and a steady pursuit of lifelong growth. Each class is a member of either the Oak, Maple, or Poplar family, and students remain a part of their family tree throughout their time at Woodlawn. The oak is representative of courage and strength; the maple, wisdom and balance; and the poplar, endurance and opportunity.
The Family Tree Ceremony is a very special way to bring together the different grade levels. We're all "sorted" into certain tree groups that are mixed with different grade levels. For example, as an eighth grader I was placed with the Poplar group, which included a couple different classes in both Upper and Lower School. At each assembly, pep rally, and other school gathering, we sit with our tree groups. This allows us to bond with other students in different grades that we may not have gotten to know otherwise. This makes us feel more like a family than a school, which is a very special experience. I really enjoy the Woodlawn Family Tree Ceremony and I hope it is carried on long after I am gone.Jack Hager '19
Two words — Square Dancing.Woodlawn's oldest tradition comes once a year, early in the fall. In honor of Dr. George Stinson (the original land owner of Woodlawn's historic campus), we center the day around celebrating the history of our campus. Students enjoy 19th century games on the field, gardening, tours of the historic Stinson Hall led by our own Mrs. Lolla, and square dancing lessons.
Woodlawn has empowered us to dance the Virginia Reel with our calculus teacher, who always dresses the part with a straw hat and overalls. What teen would voluntarily do such a thing? And yet, we understand now that letting your guard down, having fun in silly ways, is what has enriched our lives the most at Woodlawn.Sydney Bowman '14
The youngest and most senior members of the Woodlawn student body are always in the same family tree, and each year our kindergartners are paired with a “buddy” from the senior class. The buddies visit each other's classrooms, connect at K-12 events, and even send each other special notes and gifts throughout the year.
Being a mentor to a Kindergarten buddy was probably one of the best perks of being a senior at Woodlawn. My buddy Skylar and I hit it off pretty well, and we always greeted each other when we passed on campus. My favorite moment was when I received a handmade heart from Skylar, which I made sure to keep safe on my locker door.Reilly Milburn '15
Silver and Gold
Each fall we celebrate with our junior class as they prepare to receive their class rings. A full breakfast on the patio around the fire pit precedes the "turning of the rings" ceremony. One twist to the left, is how it goes, to represent good fortune for the future. Classmates join in on the celebration with a now student favorite — the ring pop!
The Ring Breakfast is exciting for the juniors because the class rings we receive are tailored to our tastes and experiences. For me, I had a track cleat and a soccer ball on my ring because when I look back on my years at Woodlawn, I have come to realize that my best memories have come from my time on the trails and my wonderful experiences with the soccer team that I wouldn't trade for anything. The Ring Breakfast gives juniors the time to look back on all that they have accomplished at Woodlawn and reminds us to embrace the small community we have and the unity it brings.Taylor Scott '16
It Happens Once A YearThis is one event you won't want to miss, a time when the traditional relationship between a teacher and a student takes a different approach. The annual “Red Barn Ruckus” student-faculty basketball game levels the playing field, so to speak, between the student and the teacher… leading to plenty of laughter and some surprisingly serious competition. Standing room only.
I have been fortunate to participate on both sides of the rivalry, experiencing the taste of victory on both sides. The game is one of good spirited competition (although some take it very seriously) and laughter, as the two teams joke with each other throughout the game. I myself was once carried upside-down across the court by our head coach. Students and faculty alike cheer from the sidelines, in a game that’s an accurate representation of the type of fun and nurturing environment that Woodlawn cultivates: a culture of community that I have taken with me and will carry for the rest of my life.Darius Knott '11 (#23)
Red Barn Ruckus '16: Faculty 40, Students 39
Where Cultures CombineOur annual Heritage Festival is the perfect way to celebrate Woodlawn School’s emphases on diversity and inclusivity. When you walk into the Barn during Heritage Festival, you practically enter a whole new world on campus, filled with colorful costumes, enticing cooking aromas, and beautiful music. It’s a wonderful reminder of what our students, parents, and faculty members offer to our community in terms of cultural diversity.
Parents tell me how much they enjoy the event and how it's their child's most favorite event of the year. This festival embodies the values I am so passionate about.Laine Amortegui, Spanish Teacher
Pink Panthers vs. Red RhinosEvery spring, Woodlawn School holds perhaps the most intense competition in the history of Powderpuff Football: the great battle between the Pink Panthers and the Red Rhinos. The costumes and chants change from year to year, but one thing never does: it's always an inspiring athletic event, accompanied by fascinating skits and stunting from our male cheer squad.
Powder Puff is hands down the most competitive event held on campus. And this no exaggeration. My favorite part is the cheerleading — the boys put on outrageous cheer routines during half time.Rebecca Coutinho '15
It's Not What You ThinkOur eighth grade service partner is the Brian Center for Health and Retirement, a nearby medical nursing service for seniors with serious illnesses or disabilities. At the beginning of each school year, each eighth grader is paired with a senior “buddy” at the Brian Center. As a class, students visit the seniors once a month, bringing them treats, performing musical numbers, and playing games with them. The culminating event takes place in May; during a time when many teens around the country are preparing for prom, our eighth graders prepare for what they refer to as Woodlawn's "senior prom": music and dancing with the Brian Center seniors. This is a Woodlawn tradition that brings joy to both the seniors and the students!
“What a special opportunity, to spend time with these seniors over the course of a year. At the end of the year, we held a ‘Senior’ prom and it was a blast!Erin Johnson, Student
Our Prom? Unconventional!That's why we prefer to call it the Blazer Ball. The location and theme might change from year to year. Maybe it will be held on a boat? Or in a rock quarry? How about a historic house with an outdoor barn for the dancing that takes place into the late night hour?
The Blazer Ball is one of the traditions at Woodlawn that separates us from other high schools. At other high schools, students can go to their prom during only their junior or senior years. At Woodlawn students can go all four years of high school. We’re an inclusive family.Zack Scott '13
Road Trip!Our class excursions are no ordinary field trips. Throughout the year, Lower and Middle School students take class trips far and wide to explore, for instance, historic and cultural sites in the piedmont or mountains of North Carolina, performances by the Charlotte Symphony, or regional theatre productions pertaining to mathematics. In late spring, Middle and Upper School students hit the road with their classes for curriculum-related adventures, some lasting an entire week. You might see the sophomores in Atlanta, touring the CNN News building, attending a Braves games, eating at the Varsity (of course), and starting their college tours by visiting Emory, Georgia Tech, and Furman along the way. Our eighth graders head to the nation's capital to complete their US History studies. And the seniors? Well, they're the exception to the rule. School exams are over, AP classes are done — it's time for them to have some fun!
I’ll never forget our class trip to the beach. On the second night, after dinner, we all got together and headed to the beach. After an hour of playing Red Rover and throwing a football, Michael got us all together in a circle, told us to stick out our hands and grab someone else’s. Next thing we knew, a human knot ensued. We tried valiantly to untangle ourselves for a good half hour before our teachers tired of our shenanigans and told us that it was time to head back to the house. So, we did. Without letting go of each other’s hands we slowly crept towards the building, up the steps, over the dunes, through the path, across the street, and down the sidewalk; one enormous lump of arms, legs, and laughter. That is the Woodlawn Way.JP Shaw '14
A Night To Roast And To ToastProbably a favorite among the Upper School faculty, Senior Night is a night with a purpose to "celebrate" our soon-to-be graduates. Held in the Lodge the night before commencement, the seniors bravely make their way to the event fully aware that they are about to be roasted in front of their family and classmates by the teachers they have known for years. Hysterically funny, embarrassing, revealing, and memorable — our students close out the night with gifts, treats, and a first peek at their yearbook. They most definitely feel the love during this special night.
On Senior Night, teachers “roast” students in front of their classmates and families, reaching back into the students’ middle and high school years for stories of classic (sometimes embarrassing) moments. This night is always cloaked in secrecy, but I can tell you this: what makes this night so special is how it encapsulates the close relationships Woodlawn students have with their teachers. Senior Night makes all the homework, tests, and sleepless nights worth it; you’re reminded how lucky you were to go to such an amazing school.Mary Rood Cunningham '14
Graduation on the Stinson LawnEvery June our community joins together to celebrate our proudest accomplishments — our graduates! On the front lawn of Stinson Hall, our graduates are recognized for their outstanding accomplishments as they receive their awards and diplomas before they make the march down to the Barn, where they are greeted by staff and faculty, young and old classmates, and our parent community. It is our favorite day!
As they walk through the doors of Stinson Hall, our graduates leave behind their past, and face their future. As a lower school faculty member for the past 12 years, I’ve had the privilege of watching many of these students find their passions and develop into lifelong learners. I was a teacher during some of their earliest years, so there is nothing more rewarding than being a part of their last day at Woodlawn School. It is something I truly look forward to and treasure each year.Debbie Lolla, founding teacher
Who doesn't love S'mores?
Lower School students and families gather on a colorful fall weekend every November for the annual Fall Festival. As the trees are changing and the air, K-5 students begin the afternoon with a heart-warming musical performance held in Woodlawn's outdoor amphitheater, where families gather with blankets and lawn chairs. Immediately following, everyone warms up with hot chocolate and fun. Woodlawn families create their own crafts to take home, play plenty of games involving pumpkins and apples, and roast marshmallows over the fireplace in the Lodge.
What a beautiful annual tradition… It’s the perfect way to bring together the entire Woodlawn Lower School community!Debbie Lolla, founding teacher
Every spring, the Lower School students get creative during the Art Extravaganza, an afternoon-long event dedicated to student outdoor art projects, often created from recycled materials. We come together as a lower school community to celebrate art, nature, and of course to get messy. Some projects are made to help decorate and liven up the campus, while others are taken home for the students and families to enjoy. Every year is different, allowing the children to have new experiences in the creation process.
This afternoon is one of my favorites at Woodlawn. The children look forward to this special day and it makes me so happy to watch them making art and loving every moment of it!Jackie Royce, Woodlawn Art Teacher
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, Woodlawn School invites every family to invite some extra-special guests. Grandparents and special friends are treated to breakfast treats, special musical presentations, and then classroom visits. It is a heartwarming end to the first trimester.
I love GrandFriends Day. It’s a very special event that I look forward to every year.Shirley Horester, Abbeygale’s grandmother
Sign on the dotted line...
Woodlawn’s community of mutual trust and respect is grounded in the Code of Honor. An honor code helps students understand the importance of honesty, integrity, and respect. Students on the Honor Code Council are elected by the Upper School student body and are charged with upholding the Code throughout the school year.
The Honor Code signing is important to me because it embodies the spirit of the Woodlawn mission. By signing my name at the beginning of the school year to the simple but powerful statement “On my honor, I will conduct myself with personal and academic integrity,” I am one step closer to becoming an independent student. Because of the Honor Code, every student is set on the path to become a lifelong learner, which is one of the things that makes Woodlawn unique.Kelsie Milburn '17