Just out here reppin’

The Southerner


When the Grady volleyball team travels to North Atlanta High School to compete in a tournament, the team is representing Grady. When a class takes a field trip to the aquarium, the class is representing Grady. Whenever our students travel outside the walls of our school, the way we behave, interact and compete helps to form our reputation.

So what is the impression we give to the people with whom we interact? What do our competitors think when Grady athletic teams arrive late to our own sporting events? What do people think when they see us clad in old uniforms and worn-out equipment? How do we look when we walk off buses goofing around although circumstances require composure?

It is understandable that students would not expect much from Grady’s student body. Grady’s first impression is not usually one of excellence. Because of our habits, our reputation among schools in Atlanta is characterized by disorganization, unprofessionalism and lack of focus. This reputation, does not exhibit the full potential of Grady students.

Much of the way other schools perceive us is beyond our control. These issues—late school buses to competitions, insufficient funds for equipment—are unavoidable aspects of going to Grady. In fact, logistical problems occur so frequently at our school that most students have grown accustomed to this negative image. As a result, we lower our own standards and conform to the image of inadequacy that our school habitually portrays.

In most respects, however, our school is not subpar. On paper, our accomplishments are plentiful, but other schools’ students who see us don’t see what is written on a plaque or trophy. They see us, the students.

We can’t lower ourselves to the initial appearance of Grady. We should rise to our school’s true capability. We should shake the hands of competitors, not criticize them from afar. We should approach other schools confidently and professionally, not rambunctiously. By changing the way we act, we can persuade others to respect the excellence our school has to offer.

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