Superheroes on Campus

After coming back from the pandemic, special staff members and students at Woodbridge High share the unique ways they go above and beyond to impact the Warrior community


Ruby Yang

Will Buckley shoots for the stars with his love for his students and teaching.

Beyond the realm of education, Warriors across Woodbridge High have shown heroism throughout the past one-and-one-half years—rising far above the status quo, demonstrating support and spreading inspiration.

As defined in Disney’s Hercules, “a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength but by the size of his heart.” The term superhero has been redefined, forever it seems. Superheroes are no longer limited to the mighty characters in the Marvel or DC comics; they are ordinary people who live in our societies and run our schools. It is important to recognize their relentless perseverance for the greater good. One theme is certain: teachers truly care. They care so much that many of them work on Saturdays, or even until 9p.m., not to mention the busy school day in itself.

Science teacher Will Buckley describes teachers as very hardworking people, who will even show up on Saturdays to work and sacrifice almost everything for their job.

Throughout the school year, Buckley makes a continuous and deliberate effort to check in with his students.

“A lot of people point to me checking [in] with [students] every day [and how it] helped them. And that started because I had a student when I was student teaching who had a lot of mental health troubles and it didn’t occur to me that they were having troubles throughout the year until the day [when] really bad things happened, so bad that the student didn’t feel safe talking to me anymore… I feel like… I failed somebody there,” Buckley said.

Experiences like this have encouraged Buckley to make a continuous effort to check in with his students.

“The relationship we built wasn’t enough to get them through that moment that they needed. But they’re okay now. And so, now I really pay attention [to students’ mental health] because I don’t want that to ever happen again,” Buckley said.

During times of stress, Buckley emphasizes that support for students can be crucial. Especially in this day and age, attention to mental health is paramount and is one of the many reasons why Buckley is one of the advisors for Woodbridge High’s Hope Squad.

At Woodbridge High, students can access mental health resources on campus by visiting their assigned counselor, speaking to the mental health specialists or reaching out to Hope Squad.

Math teacher Melissa Dorman makes a continuous effort to support her students in every way that she can.

Woodbridge High math teacher, Melissa Dorman, smiles confidently as she is ready to take on any new challenge. (Brandon Foschetti)

“[I try] to connect with students and let them know that I’m here to help them… I always tell them—‘that’s literally my job to teach you and help you, so don’t be scared to ask questions.’ [I] just try to let them know that that’s what I’m here for,” Dorman said.

When asked about the most rewarding parts of her job, Dorman explained her principal goals of teaching.

“I want to [Help students] feel accomplished and… learn something that they didn’t know before,” Dorman said.

Besides being a teacher, Dorman is a mother. When asked about advice regarding balancing the day-to-day workload, Dorman suggests to students to focus on what is important and what you want to accomplish.

School nurse Daniella Gorman is a new member of the Warrior community and her daily schedule has lots of to-dos.

Daniella Gorman, a registered nurse, has a strong hand to help others with their medical needs for them to feel better. (Brandon Foschetti)

“I consult with parents a lot and then I work with our special education team… making sure [the students are] safe and [I’m] doing a lot of training and teaching,” Gorman said.

However, this is just one part of her day-to-day job.

“All while I’m doing this I’m taking care of the day-to day-things—I’m working with students as they come in when they’re injured… [passing out] daily meds in the health office and then I work with all the different teams on campus… There’s no day that is exactly the same and there’s a lot of moving parts… It’s quite a job,” Gorman said.

She has many responsibilities, yet she remains just as motivated as she was on day one. Her motivation is driven by her love for students and her attention to ensuring the health and well-being for everyone.

Sophomore Victoria Green smiles with bravery and is ready to take care of her friends who need help. (Brandon Foschetti)

Sophomore Victoria Green makes it a priority to help others when they are in need.

Green is available for her fellow peers by being an active listener and supporter.

“I want to have a good impact. Whenever people are in trouble, I can help them,” Green said. “I can help them do their homework, or if they have trouble speaking, I can speak up for them.”

Not only is she an inspiration to others, she has her own furry friend to inspire her.

“Definitely my dog was a big influence on me, because I’ve had him for eight years. He’s been the best thing in my life,” Green said. Outside of school, her favorite hobbies include completing puzzles and biking.

With her confidence and supportiveness to her friends, Green continues to be an inspiration to others in the Warrior community.

With his devotion to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), senior Seth Ferrell showcases his academic strengths through Woodbridge High’s academic teams and is a role model to his fellow peers.

Senior Seth Ferrell involves himself in academic clubs and hopes to provide others with a safe place to learn and grow. (Brandon Foschetti)

Ferrell has been a part of various organizations. He currently serves as president of Computer Science Honor Society and Physics Olympiad, an academic captain in Science Olympiad along with being the Co-President of Mu Alpha Theta. Additionally, he is a part of CUBESAT and CyberPatriot. Computer Science Honor Society promotes computer science students, Physics Olympiad is a physics competition and Science Olympiad is a competition under the National Science Olympiad. Mu Alpha Theta is a math club, CUBESAT is a team where students all over Irvine work together to build a satellite and CyberPatriot is a cyber security competition club. Through these experiences, he is able to share his knowledge about STEM through competitions and support his peers whenever they need help.

“In sophomore year, I got into the Science Olympiad. I really enjoyed that because it introduced me to a lot of what I love now, which is mainly physics. After that, I created the Physics Olympiad this year,” Ferrell said. “These teams and clubs provide a very- almost a safe space- for people who want to enjoy science together, or math, or any type of subject like Cyber Patriot.”

Not only does he aim to create a safe space for STEM students alike, but these teams have created a positive impact on him as well.

“It’s a really fun experience to learn with your peers and go out and just battle other schools… I think that’s really exhilarating, because it pays off. You can win stuff, but also you learn a lot and it’s been really useful to me,” Ferrell said.

In addition to being a role model to other students, Ferrell also looks up to important people in his life for inspiration.

“People I was raised with, like my sister, my mom, taught me a lot of what I know and what I want to be. Specifically my mom, she works 24/7. It’s insane, and that gave me some sort of work mentality, that I still consider to do, throughout my entire academic career,” Ferrell said.

Throughout the rest of his senior year, he hopes to create more memories with his friends and is looking ahead to what is to come in the future.

“I found that through Covid and whatnot, it’s just friends and quite blatantly, having someone to talk to or hang out with, no matter what. Just having and spending time with peers, seeing them again, whether in school or not has really kept me going,” Ferrell said. 

The Operation Smiles Board, from left to right: Sarah Shelly, Acacia Jang, Julia Tjia and Anna Chung. (Brandon Foschetti)

Woodbridge High’s Operation Smile club strives to support children with cleft lips and cleft palates with one service project at a time.

Cleft lip and cleft palate is a birth condition where there is a gap in the mouth that does not close properly during early stages of pregnancy. Even though it can be treated through surgery, many developing countries do not have access to proper treatment and resources to perform safe surgeries. If cleft lip is left untreated, infants can have issues with feeding which can lead to malnutrition and starvation. Complications of language development, hearing loss and nasal congestion can arise as well. One safe surgery costs approximately $240, according to Operation Smile.

“I learned about Operation Smile in [my] sophomore year. I was in the club drive and the former president and vice president were participating in the club drive and I got interested in the club and they told me about the club’s mission,” senior and Operation Smile president Sarah Shelly said. “I saw the potential and how much we can grow and… directly help children around the world, so they let me know that they were looking for board members [and] I applied.”

The Operation Smile club on campus works with the larger Operation Smile non-profit to spread their mission about cleft lip and to raise money for cleft lip surgery.

“I’ve always been interested in working with kids and I’ve always volunteered with kids and so when I heard about this club, I just felt more empathetic towards it and so when she asked if I wanted to be a part of the board I was willingly interested,” senior and Operation Smile vice president Acacia Jang said.

During club meetings, the board announces upcoming fundraisers and educates members regarding cleft lip and cleft palate by showing videos, slides and resources.

“I also didn’t know what cleft lip was, but [once] I started researching [into] it… I just wanted to help provide at least one safe surgery for them,” Jang said.

This year, the club is planning on continuing their fundraisers, such as selling stickers, t-shirts and tote bags, to fund upcoming surgeries and aims to spread more awareness through social media. Interested members can join
Operation Smile’s remind by texting “@opsmile” to 81010.