Crouching in the corner of the expansive Peachtree Ridge gym, I couldn’t help but smile at the surging throng of freshmen pouring in through every door.
It was the first day of school and I was armed with my camera, ready to snap some action shots for student council. The faces I came across through the viewfinder hosted a wide variety of emotions – anxious trepidation, bumbling bewilderment, wide-eyed exhilaration – and in every not-yet-lost-all-the-baby-fat face, I could see myself from a few years ago.
As the students got settled in, the entire room was suddenly filled to the brim with thick bass notes and crackling percussion, causing craning necks and whirling heads. The confident marching band filed out to center stage, effectively galvanizing the audience, followed by a train of pumped, overall-clad “lumberjacks,” upperclassmen who lead chants at our sports games. The football team and cheerleaders brought up the rear, sporting proud royal blue uniforms and feather boas.
Throughout the event’s games, dancing, motivational speaking, and chanting, I watched the faces in the crowd relax, felt the tension ease; I spotted introductions exchanged, friendships made, laughter shared. I saw a class of kids come together through this experience, forming a bond that will only strengthen over the next four years. I witnessed the birth of something alive and thriving, a force to be reckoned with.
To the class of 2021, welcome to the home of the Lions. We can’t wait to see the greatness you will achieve.