Athletic Town Hall Boosts Spirit, Introduces Athletic-Academic Programs

Jordan Killenberg

As any high school athlete, parent, or coach knows, a lot of work goes into playing a sport, whether it’s with keeping grades up, putting in effort to fund and continue a sport, or trying to qualify for the collegiate level.

This year, Grady established an annual Athletic Town Hall meeting designed to inform athletes, parents of athletes and coaches about a bounty of athletic materials related to health, collegiate-level sports, and new athletic programs at Grady. The first meeting was held Aug. 24  in the historic gym and drew a crowd of athletes and athletic supporters.

Grady’s Athletic Director Myss Jelks, presented a wide variety of school sports including JROTC and club teams such as water polo and ultimate frisbee. She also introduced the athletic department’s new website which was developed to communicate with parents and athletes and keep them updated on their sports.

“This is a great way for coaches to communicate information to our parents,” Jelks said. “Social media is just the way to go now, and this website is going to help us get to where we need to be.”

Jelks also touched on the increase in school pride at Grady and the need for athletic spirit.

“I’m trying to introduce the spirit because I feel like at Grady High School, we just need to be more united,” Jelks said. “If you’ve been around for the past few years, you can see the change in spirit at Grady High School. We’re doing great things here.”

In addition, Jelks spoke about community nights and the importance of bringing future Grady students to these events.

“It’s a great way to get the younger kids to see what we’re doing at Grady, so they’ll have something to be excited about,” Jelks said. “We’re wanting to bridge the gap and get those kids to come to Grady.”

After an athletic health presentation from Grady athletic trainer, LaToya Franklin, Grady assistant football coach Paul Cobb, introduced the Play It Smart program, which is sponsored  by Chick-fil-A and the NFL. Coach Cobb will be helping student athletes, primarily football players, register for the NCAA Clearinghouse and sign up for SAT and ACT testing and prep classes and mentoring them to keep their grades up and while focusing on academics as well as athletics.

“For your son or daughter going to college, it’s important to register for the Clearinghouse, or eligibility center, and ACT and SAT dates and to know about finding prep classes,” Cobb told parents in attendance.

In addition to Cobb, others stressed the importance of registering for the NCAA Clearinghouse and the problems Grady students have had in the past with doing so.

“If you do have a student who is trying to play sports on the next level, you have to go through the Clearinghouse,” football coach Earthwind Moreland said. “Once a student registers for the Clearinghouse, they get a number which is the difference between them paying and the school paying, so they have to treat that number with importance and keep track of their status.”

Christine Beatty, Grady parent and Athletic Booster Club (ABC) president, spoke about the ABC and noted its intentions to become “one supportive organization for all sports.” Beatty mentioned the ABC’s contributions last school year such as paying for concussion testing and sponsoring the homecoming tailgate.

This year, the ABC also paid for the athletic department’s new website and hopes to continue sponsoring spirit buses to football games. In order to achieve its goals, the ABC is planning multiple fundraising events and is trying to obtain corporate sponsors; they also created a donor program with different levels of donors depending on how much money Grady supporters contribute.

“We want to be catchall for every sport,” Beatty said.

 

– To learn more about the Grady Athletic Department, the Athletic Booster Club, or Grady Athletics requirements/qualifications, visit http://gradyknightsathletics.com/.

– Keep up with the athletic department on Twitter: @grady_knights

– Upcoming Events:

  • Sep 23- Cluster Night: Football team plays Decatur.
  • Oct 21- Homecoming Game and Tailgate: Football team plays Maynard Jackson.
    • Tickets for the homecoming tailgate in the courtyard will start selling shortly.
  • Oct 28- Senior Night for Fall Sports: Football team plays Riverwood.
  • Remember: Football tickets can always be purchased for $5 before game day from Coach Jelks or Coach Moreland.
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