Scecina sophomore Abby Woida (left) and her friend Allison show off the puppets they used for a program for children at the Indianapolis Zoo, where they are interns with the Zoo Teens program.
Each week the Scecina Student Spotlight introduces the Crusader Community to a current Scecina student who has been a recipient of the President's Academic Excellence Award.
By Cari Gallagher '93
“I can and I will. Watch me.” ~ Carrie Green, American entrepreneur
Those are words to live by for sophomore Abby Woida, who in just three semesters at Scecina has tackled high-level academic coursework, varsity athletics, and many co-curricular activities. She excels in all of her classes, and English is her favorite. She plays varsity soccer and represents the Crusaders as a competition cheerleader. She is a member of the baking club, Crusaders for Life, A Promise to Keep, and Student Ambassadors.
So you would think that school breaks would be an opportunity for relaxation and time spent with friends. But not for this ambitious young woman. She uses her free time to continue learning and provide service to her community.
In May 2015, Abby was selected from hundreds of applicants to take part in an Indianapolis Zoo program called Zoo Teens. This highly sought-after unpaid high school internship allows students to explore career goals and develop interaction skills in a professional zoological environment. Abby was drawn in part to the zoo’s teen program because of her family’s love of animals. The Woidas volunteer with several local canine rescue groups, often fostering those with special needs. They currently have five dogs.
Zoo Teens are expected to work at least one day per week throughout the summer, one to two shifts a month during the school year, and at least one shift during special events such as ZooBoo and Christmas at the Zoo. Consistent attendance is required for all Zoo Teen assignments during their one-year commitment.
While Abby says that working with the animals was a great added bonus, the reals benefits were intangible. “I met so many new people and I was able to experience what it’s like to have a real job,” she says. Through a variety of experiences, Abby learned skills that she can apply to any work environment. This type of real world knowledge is important to Abby as she prepares for college and career.
Abby feels that programs such as Zoo Teens, which teach valuable jobs skills to high school students, are a key component in combatting unemployment, a social issue that she would crusade against because of the direct correlation of high unemployment rates to poverty, violence, and child welfare.
The Zoo Teen program occupied much of Abby’s summer, but she still made time to pursue her love of dance. She is a member of the elite performance company at Dance Rhythms Ltd., a program that requires five to six days a week of classes and rehearsals, 12 months a year. The company performs throughout the Indianapolis area. Abby acknowledges that balancing school work, sports, dance, volunteering, friends and family is a challenge, but she loves every minute of it. Abby says that she enjoys many activities, but she has only one true passion, “I want to live a happy life.”
Abby is the daughter of Mike and Tonya Woida. Her brother Ben is a freshman at the University of Cincinnati. They are parishioners at Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Posted on Wed, January 27, 2016
by Beth Murphy filed under