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Clarkston Community School District

A Memorable Meeting and Story to Share

A Memorable Meeting and Story to Share

Dear Clarkston Community Schools Families,

I'm writing you today for no reason other than I wanted to take the time to share a story with you about a student I met in my travels across Clarkston Schools. Every kid has a story and we are better when we take the time to listen and be part of that story. In essence our district is just a collection of stories, some told and some unknown. I am going to share one story and I hope that you make a connection.

"Hey, Mr. Ryan, good to meet you," he said, and thrust his hand forward with a firm handshake and engaged me eye to eye. "Follow me, you need to see this." Beneath a well-loved knit cap, the young man led me to his worksite as he walked with purposeful strides, he was on mission.

His name was Jagger Woody, and he had my attention. You see, I meet a lot of Clarkston students who impress me, but there's something about Jagger Woody that was inspiring. "Woody" (as he introduced himself to me) seems larger than life. He is a CHS sophomore in our new Construction Tech program, he knows exactly where he's going, and you can't help but want to go along for the ride.

On the day I met Woody, the sun was shining and it seemed like a great day to visit the Clarkston Family Farm to take a look at the progress our Construction Tech students have made on their projects there. The Family Farm will be hosting elementary students across the district to learn green skills. Under teachers Jeff Peariso and Steve Wyckoff, Woody and his classmates have been building a bathroom and helping with some framing and siding on site since last fall. I've enjoyed watching how things are coming along over the past few months. (It is always great to watch a remodel when it is not your house.)

As he took me around the worksite, Woody proved to be far more than just a capable tour guide. While we walked and talked, I learned a lot about the Family Farm project, but I learned even more about Woody.

See, Jagger Woody is one of those people you meet, and instantly know you won't forget.

The first thing I noticed about Woody was his confidence. Strolling the grounds with a hammer swinging from the toolbelt at his side, he spoke directly and knowledgeably about the projects that clearly brought him great pride. He has also found a connection and a purpose in coming to school.

That's the next thing I noticed about Woody. He derives joy and satisfaction from his work here at the Family Farm and in his part-time construction job outside of school. His eyes light up when he tells me about installing flooring for Everlast Floors. He's a guy who knows what a hard day's work feels like, and he thrives on the fulfillment it brings. Not to mention earning some money for himself and having a little freedom that it brings.

Woody says he became interested in construction growing up watching his uncles work in the business and now through the things he's been doing in the Clarkston Construction Tech program. He recently learned about a construction management program at Ferris State University, and he says he has the full support of his grandparents, Pamela Woody and William Gitchel, with whom he resides.

Though things haven't always been easy for him, he has overcome much and Jagger Woody has a plan for the future, and he's excited about it!

Isn't that what we all want for our kids? I have no doubt that Woody's grit, determination, and charismatic self-assurance will take him places. He's a cool kid with skills (some that I wish I had) and I just had to tell you about him.


Shawn Ryan
Interim Superintendent

About Clarkston Community Schools: Clarkston is a highly regarded school district with an enrollment of nearly 8,000 students. We have seven elementary schools (K-5), one middle school serving grades 6-7, one junior high for grades 8-9, and Clarkston High School, which serves students in grades 10-12. We also have an Early Childhood Center serving children ages 3-5, and an alternative high school/community education facility. Each Clarkston Community Schools' student is fully engaged in a globally focused education, from preschool through graduation, that fosters in students a sense of self, perspective, responsibility/ownership, and contribution. The mission of Clarkston Community Schools is to cultivate thinkers, learners and positive contributors to a global society.

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Media Contact: Mary Ellen Rowe, Marketing Director (248) 623-5460.