John and Carolyn Woodward became involved in the Marble Falls school system after moving to their long-time lake house from Houston. Restless retirees, they were soon busy: Carolyn substituting in the elementary and middle schools, John as head of the in-school suspension program at MFHS. John made such an impact on the school, the students, and the community, that when he died in 1998, his wife and friends channeled their grief into setting up a scholarship endowment in his name.
“He was one of those guys who worked with kids that a lot of people couldn’t work with,” said John Klein, a retired Marble Falls coach and friend of John’s. “He loved those kids and they loved him.”
John’s first action as head of the in-school suspension program was to have teachers submit lesson plans for each student assigned to his classroom. He made sure they kept up with their classwork.
“He never yelled or screamed,” Carolyn said. “He was a huge man, a Marine and college football player. But he was also someone you could relate to. The kids respected him.”
Seed money for the scholarship fund came from a golf tournament fundraiser shortly after John’s death. Carolyn built on that by calling and writing to everyone on John’s extensive contact list. Long in the oil and gas business, John traveled extensively and had connections and close friendships with people around the world. They gladly opened their pocketbooks to contribute.
Carolyn, who now lives near her son in Austin, explained why the scholarship focuses on students who might not be able to continue their education without extra financial help.
“John’s theory was — and he always said this to our two boys — that you can make a living any way you want,” she said. “Just make a living so you are not a burden on society.”
She recalled John’s reaction when he found out a young mother wanted to take practical nursing to make a better life for her baby.
“She was a high school student, and I guess the father wasn’t in the picture,” Carolyn said. “She just needed that extra support to make it happen.”
The John Woodward Memorial Scholarship was designed to help just that kind of student: someone who wants to make a better life but needs help along the way.
“John was a neat man, a good guy, and because of him and his legacy, he’s helping these kids who want to do better to improve themselves,” Klein said. “He had a special gift, a special talent and this scholarship honors him by giving those kids he loved working with something to get the ball rolling in the right direction.”