Dorwatha Woods has spent the past 27 years of her life dedicated to the education of kids at Ascension Catholic School in Minneapolis. Throughout her years as principal of the school, Woods says shes learned many things about herself and about being an educator.
Much of her work has been focused on low-income and minority students, a passion she says she was inspired by her faith.
Jesus Christ motivates me to keep doing my work there because theres that mission of helping those that are disenfranchised, those in our society that may be pushed to the side, Woods said. Ninety-eight percent of our children come from families that are dealing with poverty and homelessness, that are dealing with joblessness, and we want those children to achieve and to bring their families forward.
It is this dedication and selflessness that has earned Woods the Minnesota Lynx Inspiring Women award for the month of May. Woods received the award at Saturday nights game against the New York Liberty, and she also got a standing ovation at halfcourt from Lynx fans.
It was so exciting, Woods said. I never thought I would be on the floor of Target Center, much less for an award.
The purpose of the award, sponsored by Land OLakes, is to empower women that are doing good things for the local Twin Cities community. Each month, the Lynx will recognize someone from our community that fits the awards criteria. Executive Director of the Land OLakes Foundation, Lydia Botham, said that is exactly why Woods was an easy choice to receive it.
Shes done a lot to empower women in her role at Ascension school, Botham said. Were doing a lot to empower women at Land OLakes through many of our womens leadership networks and promoting women within the ranks of Land OLakes. So this is just a great fit with our work and with the Lynx.
Not only has Woods taught at Ascension for 27 years, but she was also a founder and director of Ascension Academy Charter School for three years. The school was opened to provide quality education to students in Minneapolis free of charge.
Despite the struggles and hardships she has had during her career and her ventures, Woods said she has learned the most important thing is to look out for the kids.
One of the most important things that Ive learned is that you cant give up on children, Woods said. That even a child that seems like theyre not going to move academically can, and we have to continue to put the supports around the child and around the families so that a child can achieve.
Woods doesnt have much of a basketball background, having only played when she was in the 8th grade, but after experiencing the Lynx game on Saturday night she is eager to come back.
Im quite impressed, Woods said.
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