Private School Girls Take on North Atlanta


Sara Beth Cimowsky

Many students have made a transition from private school to public at North Atlanta.

Private school “good” and public school “bad,” right? Don’t tell that to Emi Douglass, Savanna Smith and Nikki Kasal. The trio made what they describe as a wholly positive transition from their private school this semester and these former Holy Spirit Prepatory Cougars are now contented and enthusiastically happy North Atlanta Warriors.

For each of student, the path to our 11-story school was rooted in a desire to change their educational scenery during their all-important high school years. For Douglas, a junior, it was just a break from her old high school to a larger school where there are far more social opportunities. “There are so many people here and you can make friends easily in all of your classes,” she said.

Kasal offered the same kind of perspective about contrasting sizes of schools. “Here there’s always someone new to meet,” she said. “I knew everyone at my old school and that’s not always a good thing. Here I don’t feel like I even know a quarter of the kids who are in my grade.”

When coming from a school with only 257 students, even an increase of 100 students would be a lot. But going to a school that’s more than 6 times larger is quite striking. “Coming to NAHS, I was crazy nervous,” Smith said. “The hallways seemed to crowded to me. Initially I didn’t think I would be able to make it through the floors to get to class with so many people.”

The contrast between Holy Spirit and North Atlanta is significant due to the fact that the two schools are different in every aspect from the lunch they serve to the way the students act. Coming from a small school, Kasal described the lack of diversity, which now leads her to appreciate all the different walks of life who roam these halls each day. “It’s great to be at a school with people who are different than me. It’s broadens me and lets me learn from perspectives other than my own or from people who don’t look like me,” she said.

Despite all the “worries” that came from parents of peers, the girls were able to separate all the misconceptions about public school with what it is actually like. In their neighborhoods they heard from “concerned” parents who learned of their new educational setting and greeted the news with trepidation. The three students say their experience has been wonderfully different than those offered by Buckhead parents who incorrectly assess their neighborhood’s public school. Smith said she feels like she’s thriving here. “They would say: Oh my gosh! Are you going to be okay?” she said. “Sometimes there is an outside perception that its bad but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.”

Smith has jumped right into student life at North Atlanta and was a junior varsity cheerleader in the fall. Douglas is involved in Students of Excellence, Impact Club and varsity cheerleading for basketball, while Kasal is dedicated to her studies.

The trio feels making friends is a lot easier here because “the school is so big and there are less cliques”. Because of this, they feel it is easier to express yourself and not be defined because they’re not restricted to just one group.

Overall the girls have had an amazing transition from their smaller school to a crowded 1,800 student site. During the past semester, the girls have learned to push and shove their way through our busy halls while successfully making friends and participating in afterschool activities. Thankfully, the trio is flourishing here and happy to be a part of the North Atlanta family.