Scott Middle School honors community leader Nate Woods

Students, staff, family and friends gathered in the Scott Middle School gym on Thursday to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., as well as pay tribute to Nate Woods, a leader in the Lincoln community known for his compassion and dedication to the city’s youth. 

Woods’ photo was added to Scott’s Martin Luther King Jr. Wall of Honor, located near the school’s main office.

“Each day as students, we pass by the wall that displays photos of men and women who have followed the example set by Dr. King,” said Anna, one of the student presenters. “We are fortunate to reflect on men and women who have made a difference in our community.”

Woods has been active in the Lincoln community for more than 30 years. In 1996, after serving overseas in the military, he returned to Lincoln and worked as a custodian at Belmont Elementary School. While at Belmont, he started an after-school chess club and eventually became assistant superintendent of the Belmont Recreation Center. 

Woods went on to work for 15 years at the Clyde Malone Center, which his grandfather helped open in 1955. Woods developed after-school and summer programs, as well as a program that provided fresh fruit and vegetables for children to take home with them on Fridays.

Woods currently works with the National Able Network as a career coach, matching older employees with training and jobs in their community, and is a youth specialist for CEDARS Youth Services. Wood and his family also have welcomed more than 100 foster children into their home.

Woods thanked a number of friends and family members when accepting the award, then offered the students a piece of advice.

“What I will say to young people is, there’s always someone in your life to help you along the way, so look for that person,” he said. “It could be a family member, it could be a friend, it could be a teacher. It’s certainly helped me along the way.”

Scott students performed music and read original poetry about King and Woods. Jessie Myles, a local minister who was honored at this event in 2006, gave a stirring rendition of portions of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Scott Principal Marco Pedroza closed the event with a message for his students, including the following: “Be diligent, make an impact, be generous.”

Published: January 17, 2020, Updated: January 23, 2020