The Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame Association
Rebecca Nowak Erd Inducted 2013 - Class of 1968
The third of ten children, Rebecca was raised within the shadow of the North End's Riverside Park. Rebecca Ann followed her family’s lengthening tradition of education, graduating from Woodward 29 years after her father. Close friendships with Barb Vargo Irwin, Jim Motter, JoAnn Whalen, Jack Rogers, and Linda Mead were formed early as they traced their steps through Woodward's class rooms and hallways.
Woodward's teachers: Mr. McMurray, Mr. Meszaros, Mr. Cieslewski, Mr. Wilusz along with Mrs. Hall and Mrs. Williamson had a "deep effect" on her formative years at Woodward. Becky especially remembers her counselors for supporting her and guiding her to follow her dreams. "I think every teacher I had left an impact on my life. I truly was a lucky girl." On a lighter side, when you get a chance, ask Becky about the humorous note that Mr. Knierim wrote sending her to the nurse for a headache while she was in Study Hall. And while you have her attention, don’t forget to reference the honors Becky received during the Junior Week festivities in 1967. During her years at
Woodward, Becky's studies were very important, but she was absolutely passionate about dancing. So much in fact, that while at Woodward Becky earned the nick name of the Dancing Bear. With so much enjoyment from dancing Rebecca found it funny that Ray, her husband of 38 beautiful years, didn't dance.
Graduating from Woodward in 1968, Becky enrolled in the Riverside School of Nursing graduating with a CNA degree. Becky married Raymond Allen Erd, a 1967 graduate of Central Catholic, in 1972. Their union, which has given them considerable happiness, resulted in three sons and eight grandchildren. One of their grandchildren, Alexandria became a treasured member of their family when their son, Chris, was killed in an automobile accident in 1998. Working outside the home, Becky had over thirty years in the nursing field with an additional seven years in hospice, when her husband of 38 years died in 2009. It was at this point that Becky turned her boundless energy and talents towards Woodward.
During her high school's waning days on Streicher Street and embodied with Woodward's electric school spirit, Becky returned to the old edifice determined to have one last spirit filled dance to properly close the old building’s chapter in Woodward's history. At first, Becky's whimsical concept of a concluding Sock Hop was met with cynicism, but her bubbling buoyancy, heart, and momentum lead to an event that was attended by over 1,200 Woodward supporters. The Memories for the Future sock hop was attended by graduates from every decade.
Maintaining the Woodward Polar Bear Facebook site, which exceeded the 5,000 subscribers, Becky promptly, began planning for another sock hop designed to introduce the community to the freshly completed Woodward High School at Stickney and Central. Well attended, the community and alumni got to take a closer look at the new facility that had maintained the integrity of the old, integrated with the technology of the future.
As if these two events weren't enough to promote her high school, Becky used her extraordinary promotional talents to organize an annual "Woodward Under the Stars" get together and dance at Sylvania's Centennial Terrace. What's not generally known is that Becky in Keeping the Polar Bear Spirit Alive in all of us, did the organizational advertisement and recruitment from her hospital bed in Cleveland.