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Alumni Update: Dr. Adrian Wood, “Tales of an Educated Debutante”

Holly Brantley

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Travelling to the lovely town of Edenton will bring you to the residence of this week’s Alumni Update, Dr. Adrian Wood. Attending Rocky Mount Academy from kindergarten to the eighth grade and then Salem Academy in Winston-Salem from ninth to twelfth grade, Dr. Wood quickly developed a love and passion for writing and literature. For her higher educated, Dr. Wood attended the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. Since then, she has worked as everything from a teacher to a ski instructor and in the past few years has been talking about and sharing her life through her blog, “Tales of an Educated Debutante.” Through this blog, Dr. Wood chronicles her daily life as mother, various concerns she has with society, especially in regards to education, and advocates for those with special needs such as her youngest son, Amos.

Not only does Dr. Wood share her life and gift for language through her writing, but also through her verbal words at various speaking engagements. The next date that Dr. Wood will be sharing her stories is at Truck by the Tracks hosted by the Braswell Library in Rocky Mount on Thursday, April 19th. Other events Dr. Wood will be speaking at in the next few weeks include Big Night Out in Greenville next Saturday night (February 10th), Joy in Messy Life at the Kinston Country Club on Thursday, February 15th, and at the Seegars Fence Corporation in Raleigh on Saturday, March 3rd. But, if you are unable to make it to these events, keeping a close eye on the RMA campus may even bring you to a surprise meeting with Dr. Wood who has been known to help with our sports concessions and join in the festivities of a pep rally!

Stepping away from numbers and lines on her remarkable résumé, Dr. Wood’s stories, or “tales,” have undoubtedly become some popular because they are so relatable and encouraging. As someone who has been following Dr. Wood’s blog for about a year now, her posts never fail to make me think, smile, or feel inspired, sometimes all three. She writes with such an honest transparency and has such an ernest message that one cannot help but ponder and relate to the ideas that she conveys. One of her posts may be on something light and fun, such as the daily antics of her four children, and then later in the day she might raise the issues of education that seems to be plaguing so many states, North Carolina in particular. It is the diversity of her writing that makes her such a compelling author, the fact that can use her sense of humor to help makes others laugh and in the same day bring problems to light that have previously been pushed to the darkness. Dr. Wood’s impact on those around her have not only solidified her reputation as an “educated” debutante, but also as an “encouraging” debutante, helping to give a voice to those who do not have one. I am excited to see what Dr. Wood will do next with her gifts, feel proud to have her as a former student at our school, and look forward to having the pleasure in sharing with many more of her tales in the coming years.

 

To learn more about Dr. Wood, please read her interview questions below!

 

  1. What years were you a student at RMA? What was one of your favorite memories? I was there from kindergarten through 8th grade (1980-1988). I have so many! I loved homecoming week and dress up days (hat and lollipop was my favorite), leaving school early as a cheerleader for away games, and field day.
  2. Where did you go to college? What did you study while you were there? I went to Meredith College and studied child development and also, took quite a few sociology courses. I wanted to be a doctor but quickly realized science was not my forte.
  3. I know you have advanced degree. What is this degree in? What made you want to study that particular subject and how are you using it now? I have a masters in education from UNC-Ch and a PhD from NCSU- go Wolfpack! My PhD is in Educational research and policy analysis. I have always loved all things related to kids and the more I studied, the more I realized I was mainly interested in research and understanding how children best learn and hopefully linking it to our education system. I write a lot about education in my blog and hopefully, challenge educators and families and policy makers to think.
  4. What first got you into blogging as far as writing for your Facebook page “Tales of an Educated Debutante”? My youngest child, Amos, was almost two and not speaking. Writing was a way to save myself somehow and so, I began documenting his path, our family’s journey, and all the wonderful nonsense that is behind the scenes in most families.
  5. Who is your favorite fictional person/character? What a good question! I was a voracious reader until I had children and most books that I adore, I have read dozens of times. I think it would have to be Caddie Woodlawn, though she’s not entirely fictional. I’ve always been more of a nonfiction type as there’s so much truth to discover, I haven’t been inclined to seek out untruth.
  6. What is your proudest accomplishment? Being a mother. There is no greater honor or gift that I have been bequeathed. I hope my children will be a legacy and I always say if they don’t turn out well, I won’t feel guilty because I did the best I could! Ha!
  7. If you could change one thing about the world around you, what would it be? I wish folks with special needs were welcomed into every aspect of society, Public and private schools, churches, birthday parties, restaurants. We are awfully far away from true acceptance and real inclusion, which is more of a matter of the heart than a physical placement.
  8. I seen your (adorable!) children on your blog all the time. Can you tell me a little bit about each of them, please? Let’s see, Thomas is 12 and in middle school, he’s a great student and well behaved at school though picks on his brother a bit too much for my liking. Russell is 10 and he’s incredibly clever and hysterical, he’s not too sporty and adores video games. Blair is 8, our only girl, and unfortunately she is a lot like me, a bit too sassy. That’s how I ended up in a trash can in the cafeteria at RMA! One teacher had had enough and my parents were thankful for the assistance!
  9. What was your favorite thing to come out of the ’90s? The nineties. I feel so old. Hmmmm, I got a laptop made by Texas Instruments and it was $1400 in 1996. My least favorite thing was this new thing called email, it felt like such a pain for me and when I was at CH, I was the last holdout and never did sign up!
  10. What is the best piece of advice you have for the students in the RMA community today? Dream big dreams. They won’t happen if at first you don’t imagine them on your landscape. Think of the footprint you’re leaving on this earth whether you’re here for five more days or 90 more years. How will you be remembered? Success looks different now to me and I wish I had known that real success is not about being the best. Winning is about being your best and the type of person you are, the people you include, your willingness to learn more and listen when you don’t like what someone has to say. Remember that social media is an outward portrait of life and that the behind the scenes version is messy, not so perfect, but way more fun. XO
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Alumni Update: Dr. Adrian Wood, “Tales of an Educated Debutante”