I have been a teacher and coach at Alcovy High School since the doors opened in 2006. Recently our school has received unfavorable press about a few incidents such as food fights. Your paper does a good job of reporting things that our school accomplishes such as athletic achievements and most recently being named an AP Honor school. But not surprisingly, many of the comments from readers were about the negative articles, not the good ones. Many times, I have defended Alcovy High School to my friends in the community. Every day I walk into this building, I am inspired by some of my colleagues who have sacrificed and continue to do so for the benefit of our students. There are also really good students here that do great things. I wanted to take this opportunity to list some things that go unrecognized for a variety of reasons, but probably most importantly, the teachers and students don’t want the spotlight for something that comes naturally to them. I hope that this letter makes it in to your paper and on to your website. I am not going to list names to protect their privacy.
- A teacher noticed that her student was hungry. When she probed a little, she found out that child had not eaten in several days. That teacher started a food pantry from donations from other teachers to help provide for students whose family cannot provide for them.
- Some of our AP teachers give up their Saturdays so students can get extra tutoring for the AP exams.
- Recently, a family home of Alcovy students was lost in a fire. Not only did teachers help provide basic necessities such as food and clothing but helped organize temporary housing.
- A teacher went and picked up a student and dropped him off at his church. The student was looking to change his ways and reached out for help. He had not been to church since he was a boy and was involved in drugs and failing classes, missing school.
- Students stay after school to tutor other students who need help in chemistry.
- The AHS Reading Bowl team is currently metro Atlanta champions, advancing to the third level of competition, and has placed at the divisional level two out of the last three years.
- Our student organizations are very involved in the community such as playing Bingo at the nursing home, teaching children crafts, volunteering for the river clean-up, helping with special Olympics.
- Student council members are selling wrist bands to raise money for children in the Philippines.
- Coaches stay late waiting for children to be picked up after practices or sporting events.
- Teachers give lunch money to kids that don’t have any.
- One teacher said this “In 28 years of teaching, DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Newton counties, this is by far the best year I have ever had! My students this year are kind, polite, responsible, generous, and caring. I look forward to coming to school every day, and I miss my students when I cannot be here. Alcovy is a wonderful place to work, and I thank God that I get to spend my last few years before retirement here! I would not want to be anywhere else!”
- Several teachers have battled cancer and the effects of chemotherapy. They came to school every day, so that their students would not have to have long term subs.
- A teacher volunteered to anonymously pay the fees for an athlete to play a sport he loved, but his family could not afford it. The teacher never taught the athlete.
- Teachers and coaches sacrifice time with their families constantly in their duties for this school.
- Many students come to school every day early to meet with teachers for tutoring.
- A teacher comforted a student whose parents went through a nasty divorce with the child in the middle of it. A hug goes along way.
- Students have created a Dream wall, where they put their dreams out in public.
- A student received her first paycheck. When asked what she was going to do with it, she responded, “Buy my family a nice meal.” In response to this, this Culinary Arts club prepared frozen meals for the family, and collected $200 for a Christmas gift.
- in the last three years our Career Technical Instruction students have had four 1st place finishes, three 2nd place finishes, and three 3rd place finishes at the spring state competition where they have to present projects related to career goals to a panel of judges.
- Alcovy has had two West Point cadets.
- Our chorus students put on an anti-bullying performance.
- Or FBLA won many awards at competition this year.
- Teachers pay for graduation robes and panels for students that cannot afford them.
- Last year we had a Gates Millennium Scholar, awarded to only 1,000 nationally.
- Our Anchor club is providing pillows at Children’s Healthcare. They also put on a dance for our special education students annually.
- A student who brought in five huge boxes of food—easily over 100 items. She told the class that years ago, her family hadn’t had enough money to eat, and her dad had had to go to a Food Bank to get food. Now that he was on more solid footing, he wanted to be able to give back to the community.
- A teacher was able to take four Student Council officers to D.C. for a National Association of Student Councils student leadership conference (called LEAD Conference 2012). They were able to meet, connect, share ideas with students and advisers from around the country, and hear messages from amazing motivational speakers about how to be the leaders of today not just the leaders of tomorrow. They represented our school well and will be sharing the leadership skills and ideas they acquired to benefit our school and community.
- This year Alcovy FFA adopted a family through the Salvation Army this Christmas. Members brought in over 100 nonperishable food items. We also provided the family of five with over 30 gifts including brand new shoes and coats for the children.
- AHS DECA won many regional and state awards including the Best New DECA chapter in the State of Georgia, state competitors, and a state of Georgia DECA officer
- An Alcovy alumnus enrolled at GT is currently a lead programmer for the US military designing IED detection devices.
- A teacher donated blood in honor of a student with a bleeding disorder.
Every school has issues; the educational landscape is constantly changing. Although, our teachers and administration are focused on student achievement, they are humans and good and decent people who genuinely care for the students who walk these halls. Like any school, a small representation of the student body should not be looked at as the norm. Most of our students want to achieve in the classroom and are disappointed when they don’t. They care about each other and their school. Members of the community that want to help Newton County Schools, I implore you to get involved and volunteer at a school. Your time, your resources, and your expertise can make a huge difference in the lives of Newton County students. I for one am a proud Alcovy Tiger.
Alcovy High School