Perception vs. Reality at NAHS

Perception can sometimes be quantified as a means to an end. If a mass amount of people believe something, it must be true, right? At North Atlanta, we have the interesting reality of a wide variety of perceptions. Facing these unfortunate stereotypes at a southern school can be a difficult challenge to bear, especially when it feels as though you are being looked down upon just because of the school you attend. Unfortunately for those who judge NAHS, the reality of the 11-stories is just not comparable to that of their preconceived notions. Let’s talk about it: perception vs. reality of North Atlanta High School.  

Buckhead happens to be under the jurisdiction in which our school feeds from, and being in the Buckhead bubble is not a faction that can be taken lightly. With this being said, a vast majority of Buckhead teens reside in private schools, which statistically works better for some students, while public schools like North benefit others. Between the two, the line of which internal judgement stops and projection begins, is fine. “I get comments about it all of the time,” said junior dub Lizzie Hart, “Exclusivity does not equal a better education.”

In fact, North Atlanta is not only an outlier economically within APS, but it also stands as one of the only high schools in Atlanta that prides itself on the International Baccalaureate programme. This gives North a particularly interesting position when regarding external presumptions from other public schools in the APS system. The IB programme allows students to expand their application of knowledge by developing a deeper understanding of the subject matter in order to internalize it, instead of learning to test. 

Ellie Nejedly is a junior who recently transferred to North Atlanta from Maynard Jackson, which is an alternate high school in APS, and she expresses a drastically different previous perception of NAHS from her old school. “At Maynard, we associated North as, like, the better APS school. A school that had more resources then we did, and we kind of resented it.” Nejedly said, “When I tell people I come from Maynard I get judged like crazy. People ask me wild questions, call me names, ask if I was the only white girl there. I feel like they sort of look at me differently and that doesn’t seem right.”

The last perspective offered here today is one of a past private school student and recent North Atlanta transfer. Will Debutts is a junior who joined the warriors last year, and came from a local private school: Westminster. Debutts expressed a high sense of pressure at his alma mater, eventually leading to his embarkment to NAHS. “My peers at my old school always talked about how easy North Atlanta was, so that is what I expected,” Said DeButts, “Being here and in IB has definitely shifted that perspective a ton, it is challenging, but it is also more engaging and less stressful with my peers. I am thankful that my friends from my old school have been open-minded in allowing me to educate them on the reality of my new school.” 

All of this is to say that perspective is a difficult thing to shift. It is hard to explain, and even harder to accept, but the reality is that North Atlanta is a power to be reckoned with, and that’s a fact.