Strides and Support: Hawthorne Wesley is The Running Warriors’ Greatest Cheerleader


Catherine Townsend

Attitude of Gratitude: North Atlanta alum Hawthorne Wesley shows support every Saturday for his two great passions: running and the Dubs.

Alumni: graduates or former students of a particular school who often give back to their beloved alma maters. In high school, specifically, reunions every five years or so give alumni the opportunity to relish in all the nostalgia and glory of their high school days. After all, high school is where lifelong friendships are made, championship seasons are celebrated, and valuable life lessons are taught. These reunions also repeatedly inspire alumni to repay their schools, but for Mr. Hawthorne Wesley, giving back to North Atlanta High School occurs almost every Saturday morning. 

Bright and early on Saturday mornings, as the glowing, orange sun peeks out from behind the dewy grass of a cross country course, Wesley continues his long-standing tradition of supporting the North Atlanta community. While many snooze away in their beds or enjoy their first cup of morning joe, Wesley spends his time cheering on North Atlanta’s running Warriors. Although pom poms and ribbons may not be what Wesley sports while encouraging his beloved Dubs, one can be sure to find him passionately exhibiting his NAHS spirit. 

From 1948 to 1953, Wesley was a student-athlete at North Fulton which later merged with Northside to establish the greater North Atlanta. As a high schooler, Wesley participated in the North Fulton cross country team alongside his teammates. “One of the best parts of being on a team is the camaraderie that comes along with it,” he said.

From a young age, Wesley has been an avid participant of North Atlanta (North Fulton at the time) sports. From his freshman to senior year, he ran for the cross country team, achieving an impressive time of about 10 minutes and thirty seconds over the span of 2.3 miles. However Wesley’s running career did not stop here; as a college student, he competed for Auburn University. Because of his passion, Wesley continued running after college, becoming a part of the Atlanta Striders. Eventually, he had a massive impact on the Atlanta Track Club as an announcer and organizer. “As much as I love running and organizing events, for me it has always been about the people you meet,” Wesley said. “I have met thousands of people from running and have loved getting to know so many of them.”

For anyone who has never participated in cross country or any physically taxing sport, athletes could be the first to tell of the pain that seems to chaperone sports, and as a former cross country runner, Wesley is familiar with this particular feeling. As a result, he realizes the importance of supporting his Warriors. “I love supporting my alma mater. I feel it is very important to support the North Atlanta athletes of this generation,” he said. 

As the running Warriors continue hitting their stride, Wesley is sure to be warming up his cheering voice. After all, meeting the right notes is essential for exceptional cheering.