Before leaving for good, pause to appreciate the Grady experience

The Southerner


As we approach graduation, we seniors start counting down the days until we are free to leave. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have heard someone say, “Wow, I can’t wait to get out of here,” or “I am so sick of Grady. I’m so glad we are graduating.”

Yes, graduating is exciting and going off to college or pursuing a career is definitely something to look forward to, but I worry that people will leave Grady with a lack of appreciation for what we have gotten out of our four years and only remember the bad parts, not the unique qualities and individuals that make our school so great.

I think we can all agree there are some parts of Grady that are undesirable. The rat-infested hallways, the classrooms without air-conditioning, the occasional fights that break out in between classes, and the sometimes unreasonable policies we have to endure. But these annoyances shouldn’t be how we remember Grady. Despite these flaws, Grady as a whole is a community like no other.

As a student body we represent all parts of Atlanta—racially, culturally and economically. Our diverse student body comes together to form the best broadcasting program and newspaper in the state. We are home of the four-time state champions and national finalist mock trial team and the state champion and nationally acclaimed speech and debate team. Our football team is sending five players on to play at the collegiate level, our fashion program is a singular institution in the state and nation, and we have some of the best musicians in the state. At the end of May our seniors signed the dotted line to attend some of the top schools in the country. We are not only prepared academically but also equipped with the rich cultural experiences we have acquired from being a part of the Grady community.

We are lucky enough to have a teaching staff that cares about us as students and individuals—a collection of teachers just as diverse as the students, a faculty that includes an African king, an Ironman, a Peace Corps member, NBA players, an MLK scholar and Grady alumni. Their tireless efforts have put our school in the U.S. News and World Report Top 20 in the state of Georgia and — more importantly — broadened our schools programs and extracurricular activities.

So when we seniors leave Grady for whatever it is we are doing next, we should remember the good parts about Grady, the parts that make our school so special. Because once we leave, that’s it: there is no coming back. It will be the end of high school sports and clubs, pep rallies, spirit weeks and proms. When we walk out of the doors of the Civic Center on May 24, that’s the end of our Grady experience, and all we are left with is our memories.

So to all of you who are thinking, “Man I wish I was graduating,” take advantage of what Grady has to offer and, most importantly, don’t take your time at Grady for granted. Don’t let the fights, rats, and heat stand in your way. Get involved, interact and enjoy the time you have left to spend at a place that really is like no other because, before you know it, it will all be over.

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