Once a Raider, always a Raider

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Eleven years ago I walked into Alpharetta High School for the first time, scared but excited to start the new chapter in my life.

And just last week, I walked back through the same front doors into the same hallways, again scared but excited. Except this time I was playing principal for the day.

I signed up weeks ago to participate in the Principal and Teachers for the Day program and chose my alma mater. I wanted to see how things changed and what stayed the same, and I was not disappointed.

Growing up, I knew I was lucky to live in Alpharetta. Our community is great and our schools are even better. Besides me, 15 other community members, including Alpharetta City Council members, took time to volunteer to learn more about the school and hopefully build connections to help the students.

After I graduated and went to the University of West Georgia, I quickly realized just how blessed we are here because many of my classmates there were not as prepared as I was for college.

So when I got the chance to come back and view things from the other side as principal, I grabbed the opportunity.

Not too much has changed because honestly a high school is a high school no matter what decade it’s in.

When I started high school in 2006, the first iPhone was still about a year out from being released. We had cell phones, but they were mainly used for texting and instant messaging and we tried to not get on the internet for fear of outrageous bills.

And if we had our phones out in the hallways or during class, we would get detention and have the phone confiscated.

When I saw almost every student plugged in, I was taken aback and even had the urge to hide my cellphone.

Now the students use their devices in class, for homework, to collaborate and to interact with the teacher. The teachers can see who answered what wrong during an in-class quiz and who did their homework last night.

I may not be that much older than them, but it’s a whole new world and I think it’s great.

The students seemed to be engaged in the classes and loved getting to use their tablets in class. This generation is so tech savvy, it makes sense they’d want to learn this way, too.

I applaud the teachers and staff who have had to transition to this new wave of education and probably be the students at some point while learning the new technology.

The school has great leadership in the actual principal, Shannon Kersey. I was exhausted after following her around. There were meetings about Alpharetta being a pilot school for a new math program the county will later roll out, getting supplies the students need from the PTSA and just basic class observation. She wears many hats and often doesn’t have a moment to breathe from the constant questions. But she seems to truly love it all, and the school atmosphere reflects that.

They say it’s tough to be average in Alpharetta, and I believe it because at the end of the day, everyone is doing incredible things.

It was surreal to come full circle and see things from the other side. But I’m thankful I was able to because it made me realize how fortunate I was to get an education and now live and work here.

These students, faculty, staff and community continue to make Alpharetta awesome and make me proud to say I’m forever part of Raider Nation.


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