While Katy ISD teacher Victoria Way is well known as director of the Jordan High School Legacies dance team, she’s now making headlines for her work with a team member whose medical condition left her unable to participate with the group.
Victoria was recently surprised with Ashley HomeStore’s Red Apple Award for going the extra mile – and then some – for Jordan High School sophomore Madi Joiner.
Up until her freshman year of high school, Madi excelled in dance, only to see it come to a halt with the onset of a medical condition that left her temporarily wheelchair bound.
While most would have given up on any future in dance, Madi, her mother Patricia and Victoria had a different idea, starting with a creative approach to ensuring the sophomore could still try out for the school’s Legacies dance team.
“I’ve seen Madi dance for a long time and knew how capable she was,” Victoria recalls. “I also knew how important it would be for her to have the camaraderie of her fellow dance team members that she missed her freshman year.”
Realizing Madi was unable to perform for the judges in her condition, Victoria suggested Patricia submit videos of her daughter’s most recent solo performances for the judges to consider.
“They were the same skills required of the other dancers,” Victoria explains. “Everyone at the school agreed it was a fair approach.”
Madi earned a spot on the team, but that was only the beginning of Victoria’s efforts to keep her connected to the squad. Victoria made routine visits to Madi’s house to drop off uniform items, help her participate in team activities via Zoom calls or simply to check on her and say hello.
“Just seeing her resilience and drive reminds me how grateful I am for what I have, to dance and teach others,” Victoria added.
Although she participates in school remotely, Madi is walking again as she progresses with physical therapy, always encouraged by her teammates along the way.
“For the dance team to see her even when she couldn’t stand really put things in perspective for them,” Victoria says.
As for the Red Apple Award, Victoria also was gifted with a $250 Ashley HomeStore gift card during the virtual presentation.
“I’m here doing my job, teaching and loving students,” she adds. “Many teachers forget about the impact we have on others. The award is a reminder that what we do is bigger than what we think it is in the every day.”
Brittany Graham, community engagement specialist with Ashley HomeStore added, “We are grateful for the dedicated efforts of teachers such as Ms. Way. They are the difference makers of our communities.”
To nominate a deserving teacher, school librarian, counselor or administrator for a Red Apple Award, go to www.khou.com/RedAppleAward.