Ceremony shines light on Women of Woodland

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By Madison Lisowski, Citizen’s News

BEACON FALLS — In recognition of International Women’s Month, Woodland Worldwide is celebrating seven women who demonstrate “The Woodland Way.”

Woodland Worldwide, a school-based organization that sponsors female-empowerment and equality events, is holding its second annual Women of Woodland ceremony March 16 during the school day at the high school. The ceremony features portraits and videos of the honorees, who are chosen not only for their achievements, but also their character.

This year, Woodland Worldwide is honoring seven women from the school: seniors Camille Terrell, Madelyn Vallillo, Sofia DiPiro and Mary Pelkey, and staff members Loren Luddy, Dana Mulligan and Jill Spiwak.

“It’s a really good honor [being nominated], a great honor actually,” said Spiwak, who added she’s humbled because so many other strong women at Woodland could have been nominated for the award.

Spiwak, who has worked at Woodland since 2004, is the secretary for the athletic director. In her role, she assists in every aspect of the school’s athletic programs, from scheduling games to ordering jerseys, and is a staunch support of the Hawks.

Women of Woodland are chosen through a nomination process that is open to the entire school. Honorees are chosen based on their leadership, involvement, kindness, and the positive influence they have had on the Woodland community.

As part of the celebration, honorees are paired with students in Kristen Lengyel’s advanced photography class. From early February to the day of the event, the students work to create portraits and a biography video of each female to display at the ceremony.

As an ambassador for Woodland Worldwide, a previous advanced photography student and one of the recognized Women of Woodland, Camille Terrell is extremely passionate about the project.

“It is actually really special to me, especially since I was an advanced (photography) student last year. I got to make a video and take photos of Natalie Katrenya. This year, being able to be on the other side of it, being one of the WOW (Women of Woodland), but also helping out, it is truly amazing,” Terrell said.

Woodland Worldwide will honor the following Women of Woodland:

Sofia DiPiro is a senior at Woodland Regional High School. She is social media director for Hawk Headlines, the president of the Quill and Scroll Honor Society and a member of the World Language Honor Society.

Mary Pelkey is a senior at Woodland Regional High School. She is the choreographer for the drama club, a four-year volleyball player and a senior captain for the Hawks. She is a senator for the Student Government and a member of the World Language Honor Society and the National Honor Society.

Camille Terrell is a senior at Woodland Regional High School. She is a four-year member of the girls swim team and a senior captain for the Hawks. She is vice president of the Student Government, the leader of Inter-Club Council, and a member of Woodland Worldwide, the National Honor Society and the World Language Honor Society.

Maddy Vallillo is a senior at Woodland Regional High School. She is the senior class president, the video department leader for Hawk Headlines, and a member of the World Language Honor Society and the National Honor Society.

Loren Luddy is a Spanish teacher at Woodland Regional High School and the world languages department chairman. She teaches AP Spanish, Spanish 3 Honors, Spanish 3 College Prep, and coaches softball at Woodland.

Dana Mulligan has been a vice principal at Woodland Regional High School since 2010. She is also a dean of students and the Early College Experience course director.

Jill Spiwak has been the secretary for the athletic director at Woodland Regional High School since 2004. In her role, Spiwak assists in running the athletic programs at the high school.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct the date of the Women of Woodland ceremony. The ceremony is March 16.