Back-to-school is all about trying new things and having new experiences. Last week, as I prepared for the new school year, I decided to try something new for the very first time. I’ve been blogging about my running experience and recent Peachtree race, and believe it or not, I’ve continued my training. I figured I was in pretty decent shape when I stepped on the field to practice with the Grady High School Varsity football team and Mays High School Varsity football team during two of my stops across the district in preparation for the first day of school.
I put my practice gear on, #11 at Grady and lucky #13 at Mays, (13 is lucky for me because it’s the day of the month on which I was born), then broke a mean sweat as I participated in individual agility drills and situational team drills. Whew, these players are relentless. We were outside at Grady and although practice was after 6 p.m., man was it hot! They put me through some serious conditioning. At Mays, the skies opened up with an amazing thunderstorm as practice began, sending us into the gym for a couple of hours of practice.
Earthwind Moreland, the coach at Grady is a Grady graduate, former NFL player and second-year head coach. Corey Jarvis of Mays is also an APS alum and is returning another very strong team – last year they were Class AAAAA (5A) State Runner-ups. I was welcomed with open arms by Principal Guiney at Grady and Principal Fowler at Mays.
Goodness gracious! Student athletes are no joke. So many of the lessons learned on the field can be applied to the classroom. These athletes were so patient with me, and guess what – I even caught an over the shoulder pass which was very difficult for me, but the players made it look easy.
A huge treat was visiting with the Mays High School Marching Raiders band prior to my practice with the football team.
I had an awesome time practicing with the Mays Raider Band, under the direction of Mr. William Oliver. I played the drums, marched with cymbals and co-directed the band through several pop and dance tunes, from Michael Jackson to Usher. They even let me try on a band uniform – check out my picture below. The school’s principal tells me that Mays is next on the list for new band uniforms, so this could very well be the final year for the ensemble I’m wearing. Before leaving, these talented students serenaded me with Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely.”
This time of year is as exciting for me as it is for our students. Being on the field with our football players was a great way to connect with our students and some great fun for me. It was also a good time to make sure students know that our principals, teachers, and the entire district team have been working hard this summer to make sure we are ready to support them in every way possible this school year.
We are switching into high gear tomorrow! Open house events for Atlanta Public Schools are Monday, Aug. 3: High Schools (1 p.m.-3 p.m.); Middle Schools (3 p.m.-5 p.m.); Elementary Schools (5 p.m.-7 p.m.). Classes begin Wednesday, Aug. 5.
I’ll join the fellas over at B.E.S.T. Academy this week for another football practice as well and having fun with families at South Atlanta High during open house..
For more on registration and enrollment and transportation, please visitwww.apsbacktoschool.com<http://www.apsbacktoschool.com/#!dayoneaps/c1jfq>.
I can’t wait for our fall sports to begin. Looking forward to seeing all my scholar-athletes from practice on the football field.