School: Phoenix Academy
District: Los Angeles County Office of Education School District
County: Los Angeles County
Region: Southern California
Grade: High School
Subject: Language Arts, History, Special Education
Award Year: 2012
Florence Woodard Avognon grew up in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Crenshaw and attended Crenshaw High School. She always knew she wanted to pursue higher education, but also needed to stay close to home to take care of her family.
She decided to attend LACC with a dream of one day transferring to Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1985, Florence graduated from LACC with an A.A. in African-American Studies and achieved that dream.
In 1986 she arrived in Washington with just $50 to her name and not only completed her B.A. in African-American studies, but went on to receive a full ride to Columbia University, as a Fellow, to receiver her Masters in Teaching!
During her two years at LACC she won two forensic national titles; one in Oral Interpretation and the other in Poetry Interpretation in 1984 and 1985, respectfully. She would transfer to Howard University, where she continued her passion for forensics and in 1988 was the first African-American and first woman to win a national forensic title in Oral Interpretation of Drama at Bradley University.
After earning her teaching degree, Florence returned home to Los Angeles and became an English and History teacher at Crenshaw High School, her alma mater.
Today, she is a juvenile court school teacher and has provided instruction in a residential treatment program for at-risk youth and is currently a Teacher on Special Assignment at a mental health probation facility. Florence credits the men and women throughout her life that helped her see beyond south-east Los Angeles: her mother, her teachers and her friends. They inspired her to see pass the now and not only survive, but thrive. Florence now helps students growing up in similar situations and neighborhoods see beyond the now.
She is a proud mom, wife, sister, and daughter.