My Sense of Gratitude for Everything Woods Does
Martine (Bernard) Amirkhalili (1984, Parent 2019)

My memories from my days as a student at The Woods are happy ones. I recall thinking the lunch room was huge — same tables that our children sit on today! We did not have “Hot Lunch” but we did get a very big treat of McDonalds every so often. That probably would not happen today. I remember recess and how cold I sometimes felt outside, and just wanting to come back in to the warm building. I remember being silly and not being able to get a hold of myself one day in Mrs. Spidel’s Religion class. I had the giggles, as did my table mates, as we listened to construction noises nearby. I spent that afternoon in the front office stuffing envelopes. I remember the Christmas Concert and proudly singing holiday songs with my classmates on stage. I remember Art class with Mrs. Dyer being one of my favorite classes — the other favorite was Mrs. Coleman’s Social Studies unit on Egyptology. She brought golden scarabs back from Egypt for the whole class! I remember having my first crush at The Woods — I am glad that is over! I remember being called to the front office almost every single day right before lunch to pick up the meal that my mother had just purchased and dropped off for me and my sisters. I used to think that I was so special! Now as a mother, I am thinking something else might have been going on…like the same thing that goes through my head every morning right before I thank my lucky stars that my children get fed lunch at school! I remember more than anything else, the warm building I called my school and the happy feeling I had each day I was there. I still have the same visceral feeling each time I walk through the front doors — I get taken back in time and recall all of the innocence and promise of my childhood. 

My time at The Woods prepared me for a life ahead by instilling in me that I was smart and could do anything I set out to do. It allowed me the opportunities to ask for help as well as opportunities to excel in areas that were stimulating for me. I do not think I would be the business person I am today without the part of me that was shaped at The Woods. I have been running my graphic design studio for more than 25 years now, and am also embarking on a new business endeavor of designing fine porcelain dinnerware. It has been so exciting to apply my more than 20 years of professional design experience to this new medium and process.

When it was time to decide where my children would go to school, it was kind of a no-brainer. Not only did I live quite close to my alma mater, but I knew my children would flourish there and give me a sense of peace each morning as I watched them walk into school. It is this feeling that leads my sense of gratitude for everything Woods does for my three children. I do whatever I can to contribute to the wonderful community we have at our school. My professional talents are usually where I turn to give back. Whether it is helping to create graphic design for a school event or working on a school publication, I am always happy and proud to contribute what it is that I do best! Thank you Woods Academy for being such a huge part of my life and being part of the foundation of my children’s future.