the Southerner S I N C E
VOLUME LXVII, NUMBER 5
Feb. 21, 2014
HENRY W. GRADY HIGH SCHOOL, ATLANTA
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Sledders at the Ansley Golf Course take advantage of the first snow day on Jan. 29.
DUAL SNOWSTORMS HIT METROPOLITAN AREA A By J.D. Capelouto and Mary Claire Morris t 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday Jan. 28, Debbie Whitlock got a phone call from her 9-year-old son, a fourth-grader at E. Rivers Elementary School, as he was en route home on a school bus. “It was a strange cell-phone number. I could hear kids making noise, and I could hear someone crying, and I said, ‘Hello, hello, who is this?’” Whitlock said. “He said, ‘Momma, I don’t know where we are, but I’m scared, and I think we’re somewhere near home.’” Whitlock’s son, who was also on the bus with his third-grade sister, was one of several hundred
students throughout Atlanta who were stranded on school buses as bus drivers struggled to get kids home during the Jan. 28 snow and ice storm. While he was lucky enough to make it home, many students were left at school with no way to get home due to the storm and heavy traffic. More than 400 students and more than 50 staff members spent the night at North Atlanta High School, and approximately 150 students spent the night at E. Rivers. “My kids finally got home at 9 p.m.,” Whitlock said the night of the storm. “There are still 150 kids at the school. Only three of the 10 buses even made it to the elementary school.
They told the other buses not to bother so the buses have given up. The kids are spending the night on the gym floor, and I heard there are 12 teachers still there.” Early that Tuesday afternoon, as forecasted, it began to snow. APS middle schools were dismissed early at 1:30 p.m., and elementary schools and high schools were dismissed at the regular times of 2:30 and 3:30, respectively. Twelve hours later, due to bus transportation issues, many students and teachers were still stranded at schools. People navigating home from work and students trying to get home from school alike struggled with the weather,
and many got stuck on the interstate. At 5:30 p.m. Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency. The National Guard was not activated until midnight, after students had been stuck for nearly eight hours on highways in buses. APS issued a public statement at 10:30 p.m. stating that an emergency “shelter in place” was called for all students and staff who remained in schools. APS stated that they were continuing to transport kids who were en route for buses and were permitting parents to pick see SNOW, page 9
By Mary Claire Morris eventh-grader Jeffrey Del Bagno was in line to receive his game-day gear during football practice at Inman Middle School on Sept. 7, 2012. It was the Friday evening before the team’s weekend game. While he was waiting a room away from the coaches, Jeffrey was allegedly surrounded by four of his teammates, who proceeded to “bull-pen” him by surrounding and attacking him violently. Nearly six months later, Jeffrey’s parents filed a lawsuit against APS and the Inman administration. In the claim, filed on Feb. 27, 2013, the Del Bagnos said that the attack could have been prevented and was handled poorly by school officials. The students responsible for the attack, the Del Bagnos alleged, did not receive adequate discipline. “The ironic thing about this is that after Jeffrey was attacked, his nose was gushing blood... the coach threw him a towel and said, ‘Go to the bathroom and take care of your nose. By the way, before you leave, make sure you clean up every last drop of blood in the bathroom,’” said Jeff Del Bagno, Jeffrey’s father. “No EMPs [emergency paramedics] were called, no police, no paramedics, nothing.”
Renovations at Maynard Jackson High School underscore deeper changes at the school, which has struggled with high student attrition and low test scores.
Inman administration and football coaches along with APS officials declined to comment because the lawsuit is pending litigation. According to a report written by the surgeon who treated Jeffrey, Jeffrey’s nasal bone was injured and pushed within millimeters of his cranial cavity. Had the bone reached the cavity, his injury would have been “very serious and life-threatening.” In addition, the injury resulted in the obstruction of eight of his 10 sinuses. The report states that the injury to his nose could have been lifethreatening and would require a delicate reconstruction of his nasal bones, nasal airway and sinus cavity. Jeffrey underwent this surgery nearly four months after the incident on Dec. 20. “He had to have a three-hour under-the-knife corrective surgery,” Del Bagno said. “He was on the operating table for three hours and then had five monthsof outpatient procedures.” The day after the incident, Del Bagno sent his son to the football game, in the game day gear he had received, in order to show his attackers that they could not intimidate him, see BULLYING, page 8
After four months in the making, Grady’s advanced musical theater class put on a production of the award-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie Jan. 16-18.
Inman bullying incident results in lawsuit against school, system
STILL IN CHARGE: Murray told the staff on Feb. 25 to act with “grace and dignity.”
Murray: reassignment likely
Quinn Mulholland and Allison Rapoport Principal Vincent Murray told The Southerner that he has been told he will be reassigned from Grady. He said, however, that he won’t know where until April, when APS offers contracts to returning employees. For now, Murray asserted at a Feb. 25 faculty meeting, he will remain Grady’s principal. “I’m still your principal, and I don’t have any reason to doubt right now that I will be your principal,” Murray said. by
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Unlike many of his sophomore peers, Justin Cucchi divides his time between swim team, Earth Club and many community-service opportunities.
Retired Grady track coach, Randy Reed passed away Jan. 14, 2014, after battling cancer. He touched many lives during his 40-year coaching career.
Feb. 21, 2014
Editorial Board J.D. Capelouto Orli Hendler Archie Kinnane Eli Mansbach Quinn Mulholland Ryan Switzer Olivia Volkert Alex Wolfe
Sprawl shares blame Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. will go down in history as the day that two inches of snow completely shut down Atlanta, the 11th-largest metropolitan region in America. But what became known as “SnowJam 2014” showed us more about Atlanta than the obvious facts that the city needs to update its emergency weather alert apparatus. It also revealed the latent consequences of the racial division that tore the city apart decades ago. “Atlanta” the city is very different from “Atlanta” the region. That’s because the city itself consists of just 432,427 residents across 132 square miles, while the region encompasses 4 million people, 68 municipalities, and 10 counties across 8,376 square miles. In fact, Georgia has 159 counties, more than any other state except Texas. This balkanization is largely the result of the “white flight” from the city to the suburbs during the 1960s and 1970s. Though not explicitly race-related, suburban communities continue to try to distance themselves from the problems of the inner city; since 2005, three new municipalities have been formed in Fulton County alone. Back to the snowstorm: because so few people live in the city of Atlanta, as soon as the snow started falling and businesses and schools closed, commuters began a mass exodus of 1 million vehicles and that mass exodus quickly jammed up highways. Furthermore, because of the region’s failure to invest in an adequate rapid transit system, these highways were the only way people could get home. To those who argue this suburbanization and MARTA’s destitution isn’t race-related, keep in mind that Cobb County, which is 66 percent white, has consistently blocked all efforts by MARTA to expand into the county, instead operating its own transit system. Other northern counties have done the same. It is obvious that a major reason these counties refuse to do more to ease transportation problems is they don’t want MARTA transporting “undesirables” from the city to their white, wealthy neighborhoods. As a result, MARTA was relegated to DeKalb and Fulton County, so it could only transport residents of these two counties home on Jan. 28. Even with its limited funding, however, the system did a fantastic job, transporting 400,000 people in two days. Hopefully the mess that was SnowJam 2014 will open our eyes to our city’s transportation problems. Already the Atlanta Tea Party and the Sierra Club have come together to support increased transportation funding. Atlanta became a great city through its status as a transportation hub, as well as through
Ten dollars. With 42 percent of our school dependent upon free or reduced lunch, we still charge $10 to see a Grady theater production. Grady's theater program aims to encourage everyone to come enjoy its musicals and plays, but the reality is that many students can't afford to pay so much to see a performance. Three-fourths of our editorial board were involved with the recent production, Thoroughly Modern Millie. For months we rehearsed scenes, practiced choreography, learned harmonies and even built sets. We hoped, after all our effort, for a full house to validate our work. Naturally, we asked all our friends and classmates to come see us perform. A big concern for many, however, was the cost of the tickets. After telling them how much it was, too often the responses we heard were along the lines of “$10 is too much,” or “I don’t have the money for that!” While it is understandable that the program needs the money earned from ticket sales to help cover costs, but there are ways to lower the price for students and still make a profit. For example, the theater department could implement the method used by many other high schools and reduce student costs while charging the current rate for all other audience members. Student discounts with a student I.D. would encourage more Grady students to attend shows. Reducing the cost makes basic economic sense. The Grady Theater Booster Club confirmed at only 700 tickets of the potential 1500 (for all three performances) were sold. A student discount would inevitably fill the plentiful, empty seats. We strive to be inclusive and supportive, but charging $10 for a high school theater production does not achieve that goal. All Grady students should have the opportunity to support their friends and classmates. It's a step in the right direction towards encouraging a true Grady community. p
Juicy J recently awarded $50,000 in his “Twerk for a Scholarship” contest. What would you twerk for?
I would for world peace.” Yan Mastin freshman
If Dr. Propst would stop talking.” Carolyn Capelouto freshman
Noah Clinkscales Junior
Southerner Staff 2013-2014 Editor-in-Chief: J.D. Capelouto Managing Editors: Archie Kinnane, Eli Mansbach Associate Managing Editors: Orli Hendler, Quinn Mulholland, Olivia Volkert Design Editors: Ansley Marks, Rebecca Martin News Editors: Allison Rapoport, Josh Weinstock Comment Editors: Ryan Switzer, Alex Wolfe Lifestyle Editor: Caroline Morris Sports Editors: Ryan Bolton, Ben Searles Photo and Social Media Editor: Mary Condolora
f the month
Staff: Anna Braxton, Chris Brown, Nick Caamano, Emily Dean, Riley Erickson, Elizabeth Gibbs, Carter Guensler, Ike Hammond, Griffin Kish, Brandon Kleber, Billie Lavine, Lucy Lombardo, Hannah Martin, Katherine Merritt, Mary Claire Morris, Grace Powers, Maxwell Rabb, Jenni Rogan, Ben Simonds-Malamud, Jennifer Steckl, Margo Stockdale, Madeline Veira
For Justin Bieber’s freedom. ” D’Asia Jones senior
For Chris Brown’s hand in marriage. ” Brianna Taber senior
Amelia Rehg freshman
An upbeat paper for a downtown school Advisers: Kate Carter, Dave Winter
To our readers,
The Southerner, a member of GSPA, SIPA, CSPA and NSPA, is a monthly student publication of: Henry W. Grady High School 929 Charles Allen Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30309
The Southerner welcomes submissions, which may be edited for grammar, inappropriate language and length. Please place submissions in Mr. Winter or Ms. Carter's box in the main office. Subscriptions are also available. For more information, please contact Mr. Winter, Ms. Carter or a member of the staff.
Explosion on 10th Street causes injury The apartment of Saamer Akhshabi, a graduate student at Georgia Tech, caught fire on Feb. 4. The apartment is located on 10th Street, a few blocks from Grady. The explosion was believed to have been caused by a “molotov cocktail”—a bottle filled with gasoline and kerosine that also contains a rag, covered in the same substances, which serves as a fuse.
Grady students win big at Science Fair At the Atlanta City Regional Science and Engineering Fair, four Grady projects won gold keys, three Grady projects won silver keys and one project won a bronze key. Grady students Jenni Rogan, Alex Wolfe, Mary-Claire Morris, Caroline Morris, Allie Schneider and Carter Guensler all won gold keys at the Fair.
Math teacher leaves Grady, goes to R.I. Math teacher Jason Patterson has announced plans to leave his current position at Grady on Feb. 28 in order to take a job at a school in Rhode Island.
Six students named Scholarship Finalists Seniors Tucker Lancaster, Archie Kinnane, Zoe Schneider, Tiger Li, Samuel Heller and Quinn Mulholland were named 2014 National Merit Scholarship Finalists.
Feb. 21, 2014
Homeless pack into shelters during cold By Caroline Morris Atlanta has endured its fair share of record low temperatures this winter, bringing ice and snow as of Feb. 13. Most Atlanta residents can escape the extreme temperatures by remaining indoors, but there are many that do not have that option. According to the latest biennial census by the Metro Atlanta Tri-Jurisdictional Collaborative on Homelessness, there are 6,664 homeless people living in Atlanta. “We are always open 24/7,” said Anita Beaty, executive director of Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless. “We always allow people to come in who need to get out of the weather or who just want to come inside and get their lives back together.” The cold weather has also pushed more people inside than usual. “A lot of people that would be out under bridges or around town somewhere else, even during some cold weather, in those type of [extreme] temperatures they have to ﬁnd shelter,” Task Force volunteer Maurice Lattimore said. Lattimore is an alumnus of the Task Force’s Transitional Program and has lived independently for two years. When Lattimore first entered the shelter in 2010, he joined the Residential Volunteer Program and was given a permanent bed and storage space in return. After 90 days as a residential volunteer, he moved on to the Transitional Housing Program. For two years, he served in the Day Service Center. There, volunteers help people secure documents such as birth certificates and IDs, as
STAYING WARM: Homeless women and children rest in the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless Day Service Center on Jan. 31. well as medical assistance, clothing, food and rental assistance. Very low temperatures are unusual for Atlanta winters, so more is being done to keep people informed. “We think we’re going to have the opportunity to have a live weather forecast on the Task Force later this afternoon, just so people will be sensitive to the danger of folks who stay outside and not choose to,” Beaty said on Jan. 28. “Some people say they chose to [stay outside], but we know they just chose not to be in a big shelter system for various reasons, and those people are at risk for death.” Shelters have limited space, so not everyone ﬁnds the help they need. “Every year we do a memorial day on Nov. 1, and we remember the people whose lives were lived homeless,” Beaty said. “Many of them died in the past year from hypothermia, so we know it’s a life-and-death issue,
so, we’re always busy advocating policy changes in every system of government policy-making that impacts [the] lives of poor people.” Low-income people on the verge of homelessness have been struggling to survive in the cold as well. “We know people in need are already struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table and with the need to run their heaters much more ... it will certainly be even harder for them to make ends meet with the limited funds they have,” said Angie Clawson, public relations manager of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Despite the havoc that the weather has wrought in Atlanta, the Food Bank provides support for those in need and continues to meet demand for food assistance through its partner nonprofit agencies. While there are many efforts to help the homeless, some public officials have sought to destroy homeless
tent cities. On Jan. 14, the Georgia Department of Transportation sent two bulldozers to one tent city beneath I-75/85 and I-20 to destroy the tents in which the homeless lived. “We were horriﬁed by [the destruction] because we saw the results, and we saw how they cleaned up under the overpass on the way to Grant Park, where our home is,” Beaty said. “There were lots of local entities involved in that process.” Lattimore said the homeless community is greatly misunderstood. “They say we give the city a black eye,” Lattimore said. “I’m one of the ﬁrst to admit that our overﬂow shelter for men may have its disfunctions, its shortcomings, but any shelter does.” Lattimore insisted that “tremendous work is being done and a whole lot of lives [are] being temporarily ﬁlled with things to help them transition on to better levels of life.” p
Debate surrounds education’s shift to private sector 100%
Georgia Charter School Test Scores
School CRCT Percentile
80% Graph courtesy of Jarod Apperson
By Quinn Mulholland Public education has historically been seen as separate from the private sector. As more and more educational management organizations, which are for-profit entities, enter the business of operating charter schools, however, the line between the two institutions is becoming increasingly blurred. During the 2011-2012 school year, seven Educational Management Organizations, or EMOS, operated at least one charter school in Georgia. Jarod Apperson, who analyzes metro Atlanta education data, thinks that allowing corporations to make a profit off providing students an education lowers the quality of the education provided. “There is ... an inherent conflict of interest between trying to be as cheap as possible in order to earn a profit and trying to do everything you can to educate the students,” Apperson said. Nancy Jester, a Republican running for state school superintendent, disagrees, arguing that many schools, both charter and traditional, rely on for-profit companies to provide services. “I mean, your school district contracts with people that sell them products from paper to pencils to textbooks to computers and those vendors make profit,” she said. Apperson, however, cites two APS schools, Atlanta Preparatory Academy, which closed in 2013, and Wesley International Academy, as evidence that allowing for-profit companies to run charter schools has not worked in Georgia. Atlanta Prep was run by an Atlanta-based company called Mosaica Education up until its closing, and Wesley was run by a company called Imagine Schools until it severed ties in 2012. Andrea Knight, a parent of two students at Wesley, said Imagine had been overcharging the Third in school for its building, which Imagine owned. “The rent originally looked pretty reasonable because it was based off what percentage of funding we got,” Knight said. “But to be a school, your funding is pretty low, because you’re not fully enrolled yet, you’re just starting.” Knight also said over time the rent increased to more than $1 million for a building that was not built to the code that APS requires for its traditional campuses. Imagine charged “around 20 percent of our revenue to provide services that they really
60% 40% 20% 0% 0%
40% 60% 20% Poverty Percentile
According to data compiled by Jarod Apperson, all 11 for-profit charter schools in Georgia (black stars) have lower test scores than would be expected (black line) based on the socioeconomic status of their students. didn’t provide.” “It was really a struggle,” Knight said. “Salaries were low, supplies were in short demand, paper was treated like it was gold, the copier was under lock and key, because the resources were so strained.” Atlanta Prep had similar problems. Neil Shorthouse, who was on the founding board of the school, said the board originally took a very hands-off approach to operating the school, allowing Mosaica to run day-to-day operations. a series “We were operating under the assumption ... that Mosaica absolutely knew what it was doing and would be very effective in running the school,” Shorthouse said. In an article for his blog Grading Atlanta, Apperson wrote that Atlanta Prep’s students consistently ranked among the bottom in Georgia in terms of CRCT scores, and that only 36.2 percent of the school’s revenue from the 2011-2012 school year actually went to instruction. Shorthouse said the board was
vaguely aware of the low test scores and questionable expenditures, but not of the extent of them. “We knew that we were paying high fees, but we were not totally alarmed by that,” Shorthouse said. “We thought they were high, but we didn’t think they were out of bounds.” A directive from the Georgia Department of Education that required that school boards be completely independent from EMOs helped both schools gain autonomy from their EMOs. Shorthouse said that, after the state issued the directive, Atlanta Prep’s board “assumed full responsibility for the school and were much more aggressive in our prosecution of the duties in the requirements of the charter.” Despite the progress Atlanta Prep’s board made in improving the school, according to Shorthouse, their charter was revoked by the APS Board of Education in 2013. “We were, I’ll speak for myself, possessing a level of naivety that our charter management organization was absolutely all over this thing, and was going to really run a terrific school, and I don’t think that they did,” Shorthouse said. “And then we found out, and when we found out, it was too late.” Apperson thinks that the problems Atlanta Prep and Wesley had with their EMOs are indicative of the inefficacy of allowing for-profit companies to manage schools. Jester, however, maintained that the structure of charter schools allows parents to “vote with their feet,” discouraging financial mismanagement. “If somebody is mismanaging the money, if they’re not maximizing the utility of every dime at that school, and parents don’t like it, they can leave, and then that school will be shut down,” Jester said. “So there’s an incentive to maximize the utility in the classroom of every dime that comes into a charter school.” Even so, Apperson insisted that for-profit charter schools can afford to provide a sub-par education because there are enough uninformed students coming in to fill any gap caused by dissatisfied parents pulling their children out of the school. “There is an endless supply of students who are currently attending a school that they are not happy with or that their parents are not happy with,” Apperson said, “and so they’re moving to this school, but the school is not having to provide a good education because they don’t even care if the students come back the next year.” p
Feb. 21, 2013
Smoking the competition: Atlanta’s finest barbecue side dishes would make for the ultimate barbecue meal. Just down North Highland Road is D.B.A. BBQ’s Virginia-Highland location (1190 North Highland Ave. NE). It is just one franchise of a locally popular chain and was among the most expensive of the group. With a single pulled-pork sandwich and the choice of one side costing more than $10 (one hour of my babysitting services), I was expecting the taste to surpass its competitors. Although very satisfying, I could have made the $17 half rack of baby back ribs and side of potato salad and garlic green beans at home for a fraction of the price. Cost aside, however, their offer of a choice between
two well-mixed sauces—a sweeter, tangy one and a sour, vinegary one—was considerate and a delicious addition to their well-smoked and fairly tender ribs. Like D.B.A., my next stop was also on the pricier side. When I arrived at the Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q in Little 5, (1238 DeKalb Ave. NE), in an attempt to get a more comprehensive view of the quality of barbecue dishes offered in the area, I ordered the waitress’s recommendation: the beef brisket plate. The meat was too dry and smoky for my taste, but the flavor came from cooking the meat on a large slab of Hickory wood, the establishment’s trademark method. The wide array of side choices as well as the substantial and satisfying barbecue pork sandwich (valued at $9.95) are certainly pluses, but folks on a budget can get more bang for their buck elsewhere. Just around the corner at Fat Matt’s and Pig N Chick, the barbecue is cheaper and
In the true spirit of a southerner (no pun intended), for this issue’s “Quest for the Best,” I searched for intown Atlanta’s best barbecue. I know what you are probably thinking: Olivia Volkert barbecue in February? Although it is typically a summertime food, this southern delicacy is yummy year round. First, I visited Fat Matt’s Rib Shack (1811 Piedmont Road NE). Since its founding in 1990, Fat Matt’s, just down the street from Grady, has pleased many hungry patrons with its famous ribs. The incredible tenderness and perfectly vinegary sauce that drenches the pork makes for some of the most appetizing and messy barbecue I have had the pleasure of eating. My philosophy when it comes to barbecue is “the messier, the better.” The sauce had a spicy tang that people of all pallets can enjoy. The side of potato salad and baked beans I ordered were not as life-changing, but, hey, it’s not called “Fatt Matt’s Potato Salad Shack.” Additionally, all of the food was reasonably priced and worth every penny. The next stop on my search was Pig N Chik BBQ (1815 Briarcliff Road). At this local joint, the homestyle cooking and cozy hospitality made for a very enjoyable experience. I was saddened to find that the pulledpork sandwich I ordered was quite dry and had a smokier flavor (which is typically not my preference for barbecue) compared to the barbecue at the other places I sampled. While the sandwich was not my favorite, the potato salad and baked beans were exceptional. The potato salad, unlike that of the other joints I visited, was not too pickled and did not have too much of an onion taste. The potatoes were mashed to the perfect consistency, skins and all, and the baked beans were cooked in a distinct, homemade sauce that created a strange and wonderful combination of both sweet and sour. The combination of Fat Matt’s sandwichmaking skills and Pig N Chik’s delicious
Fifth in a series
uest for the Best
better. Someone wishing for a slightly more upscale environment, however, may prefer D.B.A. or Fox Bros. No survey of Atlanta barbecue can be complete without a stop at Daddy D’z BBQ Joynt (264 Memorial Drive SE), most often celebrated for having the “best barbecue in Atlanta.” The name itself makes it clear that Daddy D’z is no ordinary establishment. Its eccentric appearance almost reminds you of an AP Art project you would find in Brandhorst’s room. Decked out in homemade and somewhat ironically patriotic imagery, the fun and spirited dining area alone makes the trip downtown worth it. From the looks of it, nothing about my pulled pork plate and side of macaroni and cheese and potato salad was noticeably different or remarkable from the other places I visited. After the first bite, however, my disposition changed. The pork was tender and juicy but did not fall apart; the sauce was spicy and vinegary but not overwhelming. Despite their superior food, Daddy D’z prices were moderate. In sum, Daddy D’z seems to have found the perfect middle, and it definitely lived up to its hype. (And thankfully, I was also a total mess after I finished eating.) So, next time you are looking for that wintertime meal to warm your heart, look beyond the obvious winter foods like soup and chili or turkey and gravy. Embrace the stereotype of ordering some good ole’ southern barbecue. After all, when it comes to barbecue, Daddy knows best. p
Courtesy of Iain Bagwell Photography
By Rebecca Martin When looking to dine at a fancy-schmancy restaurant, one might think to go to the neighborhood hot spot or the hustle and bustle of the city. But in my neighborhood, Inman Park, between the heart of Little Five Points and the edge of Old Fourth Ward, just finding these fancy restaurants is a skill in itself. Historical Inman Park and Old Fourth Ward contain awardwinning, well-recognized restaurants. Despite their quality, a multitude of these places are off the beaten path and hidden from the view of many Atlanta locals. Julianna’s Coffee and Crepes (775 Lake Ave. NE) can be found in a concealed cozy yellow house off Lake Avenue. Stone walls surround the inside, giving it a homey feel. This posh, artsy cafe is perfect for a chilly winter day. All of Julianna’s produce is fresh from local Atlanta farmers, which makes its famous crepes addictive. If you need to cure a sweet tooth, then the aptly named Almighty crepe covered in Nutella and stuffed with strawberries or bananas is the best thing for you. It is my guilty pleasure. If you are looking for your second meal of the day, head to TWO Urban Licks (820 Ralph McGill Blvd. NE) but make sure you get directions first. Interestingly placed in an abandoned garage in between warehouses, TWO Urban Licks has a front door that is three times my height. Inside, open air breezes through the restaurant and glass chandeliers hang above. The BeltLine sits directly behind the restaurant. The simple yet unique menu makes it easy to try new things. Still, every time I frequent the restaurant, I feel compelled to order the salmon chips and empanadas. Their brisket is cooked for hours and then stuffed into flour tortillas with garlic aioli and feta. This meal has a kick to it that would satisfy anybody’s taste buds. Venturing a few streets over into Old Fourth Ward, standing at Sampson and Lake, you can spot the vertically hung letters
Inman Park, Fourth Ward home to culinary secrets
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: Julianna’s Coffee and Crepes (left) and Kevin Rathbun Steakhouse (right) look modern on the inside, but were constructed from warehouses and old homes.
upon the side of modern-looking building that identify Serpas (659 Auburn Ave. NE). New Orleans native and chef/owner Scott Serpas has given the restaurant its urban feel and southern twist. He also made the restaurant “one of the 10 best new restaurants in America,” according to a 2009 article in GQ Magazine. My favorite dishes were the tomato PBR-steamed mussels and stuffed chicken breast. The presentation of the meal was picturesque, perfectly complementing the meal. For the final meal of the day, you can find a diamond in the rough in Old Fourth Ward. Kevin Rathbun Steak (154 Krog St. NE) is located in a dead end in what looks like an unassuming warehouse, making it tricky to locate. But once you do finally find the place, you will have no regrets. It is an award-winning steak house whose owner,
Kevin Rathbun, was an Iron Chef victor in 2008. Creative Loafing named it the best steakhouse in Atlanta, and Gayot Online ranked it in the top 10 steakhouses in America. Never did I think that macaroni and cheese could taste like a gourmet dish, or that french fries could be so well made that I do not feel guilty eating them. As for their specialty, the dry-aged steak I ordered was cooked to perfection and delicately seasoned. With an appreciably crispy char on the outside and a medium rare center, it is mouth watering. Exploring the place I have called my home for many years showed me that the mysterious locations of these restaurants, whether tucked into an old home or hidden in an abandoned warehouse, make them more attractive. The hidden gems are easy to miss but definitely worth finding. p
Feb. 21, 2014
Weaver finds new comedic calling, forensic success By Mary Condolora enior Damian Weaver has spent the past two years on Grady’s speech and forensics team participating in very “debate-y” events including public forum and Lincoln-Douglas. During his senior year, however, he tried humorous interpretation, an event completely different from what he had done before, “SHOO’ THE BAWR and he has been laughing his way to GUNNAH!”: Weaver jumps the awards podium ever since. into one of his characters, Weaver’s accomplishments in huCoach Shimimoto, during his morous interpretation are a far cry from humorous interpretation his time participating in public forum, piece (right). where he never broke to the final round. His successes in humorous interp include third place at Carrollton High School’s tournament, fifth place at George Mason University’s national competition and breaking to the semifinal round of Emory University’s national competition. Weaver said that it was his debate coach, Mario Herrera, who encouraged him to make the switch to humorous interpretation. “I was at Emory, and I was doing public forum at the time, and Mario was like, ‘I want to try you as humorous interp.’ So I thought I would give it a try,” Weaver said. “He picked out a book for me, and I cut it and edited it all on my own,” Weaver said. Humorous interp consists of a comedic portrayal of a published piece of work, edited down to 10 minutes. Weaver’s piece, an excerpt from Paul Beatty’s novel The White Boy Shuffle, tells the story of Gunnar Kaufman, a preppy, socially unaware, black kid living in Santa Monica who moves to an inner city area in Los Angeles and experiences culture shock. Gunnar finds that the best way to be accepted in his new urban culture is through basketball. Weaver said Herrera chose this piece for him because like Gunnar, Weaver skateboards, so a Photos by Mary condolor
it seemed to be a good fit. “A coach friend of mine recommended it years ago to me, and I thought it was hysterical,” Herrera said. “When I found out about Damian’s ‘skater side,’ I looked a little bit more into the story and recommended it to Damian. He took it from there.” Weaver’s similarities to Gunnar go beyond skateboarding. “I definitely can relate` to the person who comes from a background who isn’t really exposed to ghetto people and the way they act and talk and their expectations,” Weaver said. “I experienced that in elemenSeconds later in tary and middle school.” his performance, Sophomore Tate Lancaster, who also competes in Weaver humorous interp, raves about Weaver’s performance. transforms “His piece is absolutely hilarious and really fits him,” into Gunnar, the Lancaster said. “I was surprised he was able to cut a protagonist of his whole book and make it into such a great HI.” story (left). When Weaver placed fifth in the final round at George Mason University’s National Speech and Debate Invitational, he experienced a range of emotions regarding his success. “I was most nervous when I found out I broke the semifinals, because I felt at that point that I had a chance of winning,” Weaver said. “When I broke to finals, I didn’t really have emotion, I didn’t really know how to feel. Everyone else was really excited, but I wasn’t even really excited for myself. Maybe it was because I was nervous.” Lancaster, however, was extremely enthusiastic about Weaver’s success. “I think he has had so much success because of his personality,” Lancaster said. “It just fits HI. He is so engaging, and you just want to listen to what he has to say. Not to mention he is just a hilarious guy.” Along with Lancaster, Herrera believes the root of Weaver’s success is his personality. “A good interpretation piece can happen often, but a great one is only great because of the love and dedication of the student,” Herrera said. “Damian works tirelessly on his selection. He practices and practices.” Despite Weaver’s newfound place in humorous interp, he does not want to participate in speech and debate in college but will continue with public speaking. p
By Grace Powers If you pass by the intersection of North Avenue and North Highland, you’ll run across the famous Manuel’s Tavern, which possesses a new addition to the landmark restaurant. Some may think it’s a little house atop of Manuel’s roof or maybe a storage unit for extra space. Actually, it’s a chicken coop, a safe haven for 24 chickens that reside in the luxurious home on the restaurant’s roof. Brian Maloof, the owner of Manuel’s Tavern, has loved his chickens since the first day they arrived at his doorstep in a box. Now the whole staff enjoys their company and the hardy eggs they produce. Construction began on the coop at the beginning of April 2013. Gathering all of the recycled and reclaimed materials that make up 60 percent of the coop was a slow process. “It’s not completely finished,” Maloof said. “There are some details that need to be finished on it. I need to complete the painting, the gutters, the rain barrels, then we’re going to decorate it.” The chickens have 550 square feet of space that is completely fenced in with chicken wire. The henhouse is small, cozy and colored a light green with lopsided window panes and a large dust bathing area, where the chickens roll around in dust to clean their feathers, underneath it. Maloof ’s inspiration for the rooftop chicken coop began with an experience almost like an epiphany. Manuel’s Tavern was having a hard time over the past three to four years. Maloof said he had meditated over what he needed to do to bolster his business and was surprised when the solution came in the form of chickens. He described his realization with a reference to a movie: like the main character in one scene, everything he did and everywhere he went he was constantly reminded of chickens. He would turn on the radio and hear the traffic report from the Big Chicken in Marietta, or pick up a magazine to see a chicken on the front cover with the title, “Chickens, The New Thing in Food for 2014.”
Tavern chickens bring customers smiles, extra eggs
SOMETHING ABOUT SUSAN: Brian Maloof holds his favorite chicken, Susan, in front of a crooked window meant to appear as if the chickens built the coop.
He was initially talked out of the idea by an experienced employee but later came back with a newfound fire. He threw caution to the wind and dove in with full force. After Maloof began construction on the coop, a close friend heard of the chickens and excitedly appointed herself as poultry manager. She and Maloof took egg grading classes and were certified by Georgia’s Agricultural Department to sell, grade and serve their rooftop eggs. Maloof and his manager, Frank Waters, are primarily respon-
sible for caring for the chickens. Every morning, Maloof checks on the chickens, feeds them and makes sure their water is in good shape. The chickens start laying eggs around 10:30 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. Multiple times during the day, Maloof checks on them and brings them snacks and words of comfort. Manuel’s Tavern houses two types of chickens: the Australian Australorp and the Speckled Sussex. These two breeds are popular because they are hardy, docile and are the most productive egg layers. They also have great heat tolerance and high social skills. The chickens receive a custom blend of food, complete with black oil sunflower seeds and crushed oyster shells which make the eggs hard, mixed with organic starter food. Although the chickens do produce a lot of eggs each day, the Tavern goes through more than 720 eggs a week, and the chickens cannot supply all of the eggs needed. Diners, however, can ask for an organic egg upgrade for their meal. Maloof swears that the rooftop eggs have more of a flavor to them than regular eggs, and when scrambled, they are perfectly golden, unlike the standard ones which are more white. There is only one chicken that has a name: Susan. She is the only Speckled Sussex that has a block white head instead of one with white freckles. Susan is named after a woman who has been working at Manuel’s Tavern for 40 years and has stark white hair. Susan the chicken is a very proud girl who will not let Maloof or anyone else hold or pet her, no matter how much they chase her around the coop. And according to Maloof, just like the chicken, Susan downstairs runs away from all the men chasing her. The 24 chickens have caused great excitement and pride among the employees at Manuel’s Tavern. Many of them boast about their eggs and chickens to other restaurants. The chickens also have been making the customers smile more widely. “You can bring someone in who’s in the foulest mood and put a chicken in their lap, and every single time they smile,” Maloof said. p
Feb. 21, 2014
Alumnus’ voice grows with career performing opera “I don’t know much about technical opera skill,” he said, “but I am always blown away when I get to see him perform again or hear him perform again when he comes back home for the holidays, because it seems to me that he is always growing, and his voice seems really rich.” While at Mary Lin Elementary School, Irvin played the clarinet and picked up the saxophone. In addition, he played the piano and continued to take private lessons throughout high school. Despite his musical background and current profession, John Irvin did not participate in any musicals during high school. He performed in his first opera while at Georgia State University, where he transferred to from GPC and where he finished his bachelor’s degree in musical performance with an emphasis on vocals. “The first show I performed in was Candide at GSU, and I played a couple of different parts,” Irvin said. “One was a major singing part, the Governor. That was my first big foray into a major opera. It was really fun because we had a really great director then, and the costumes were wacky, and the story is a strange and wacky story based on the Voltaire novel.” Irvin graduated from GSU in 2010 and received a professional certificate from Boston University’s Opera Institute in 2012. He has performed with groups including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Irvin, however, said that his favorite place to perform was in Sante Fe, N.M., where he was an apprentice in 2011 with the Santa Fe Opera.
By Eli Mansbach Grady alum John Dixon always thought he would see his childhood friend, John Irvin, on stage telling jokes, not dressed up in costume singing at the Chicago Lyric Opera. “[Irvin’s opera career] blew me away when I found out about it because when we were friends, we both wanted to be comedians,” Dixon said. “We were always making jokes. I had started this improv troupe at Grady when I was in 11th grade and he was one of the four people in it. Our friendship was definitely based around comedy.” Despite his success in the world of opera, Irvin, class of 2003, did not become interested in opera until after he graduated from college and his wife, Linda Irvin, pushed him to try it. “I wasn’t familiar with opera until I started school at Georgia Perimeter College a couple years after I graduated from college,” John Irvin said. “I started [singing] as an elective at GPC, and my wife heard me sing and encouraged me to start pursuing voice so I just kind of took her up on it to see if I liked it and lo and behold, it became my career.” Linda Irvin, who sat right in front of John Irvin during that chorus elective, remembers that day well. Their chorus teacher was getting very frustrated and asked someone to just give the piece a go. “And John Irvin gave it a big try and everybody just turned around and looked at him and we were like, ‘You need to sing,’” she said. Stone Irvin, John’s brother, is also very impressed by his older brother’s voice.
OPERA-TING ON THE STAGE: Irvin performing the role of Malcolm in the Boston Lyric Opera’s production of Macbeth in 2011. “I really enjoyed working at the Santa Fe Opera because it is a beautiful city, and New Mexico is such a beautiful part of the country, and the way the opera house is designed, it is actually outdoors,” Irvin said. “There is a giant proscenium that opens up into a view of the desert behind the opera house.” Irvin remembers the night they opened Faust, an opera dealing with a man who trades his soul to the devil for youth, at the Sante Fe Opera house. “[It was] one of the big culminations of a giant wildfire that had been going on there for the larger part of the summer ... so the [opera] opened up with a scene of the desert burning in the background, which was really eerie but also really fitting,” Irvin said. “I’m glad we actually got to perform that night because there was so much smoke,
we were worried we were not going to be able to perform outside.” Irvin is currently a member of the Chicago Lyric Opera, where he is preparing himself for the role of the officer in their production of The Barber of Seville. Irvin said that his daily schedule depends on whether the Lyric Opera is in the summer season or the main season, which is in the fall and spring. During the main season, Irvin takes part in the rehearsals for the operas the company puts on, but in the summer, he takes part in a young artists’ workshop. “We put on a production of an opera that features all the young artists,” Irvin said, “and we coach with a variety of music staff, usually with guest artists who are known internationally who come to do workshops with us on our own repertoire and on the season repertoire later on. Typically, we end up doing operas that
we are planning on doing a couple seasons away or that we are actually doing in the season.” Voice lessons are a big part of the summer program, too. “We do technical exercises and make sure our voices are in shape because you have to keep your voice in shape so that you can sing the operas that are coming up,” Irvin said. “You always have really different passages and difficult passages.” After singing opera for five years, Irvin said that he has come to appreciate opera for its combination of the different aspects of theater. “You have singing, the orchestral aspect, language and theater, and it’s all wrapped up into one thing so I can satisfy my desire to do just so many different aspects of art. ... It includes visual art too, of course, with costumes and set,” Irvin said. “It combines everything into one.” p
Teachers’ confusion over text dialect results in LOL I have faced the embarrassing truth that OMG has become a part of my life. I say OMG on almost any occasion—over text, Facebook chat, Instagram comments, and out loud in everyday conversations. Even amongst my classmates “text-speak” has unfortunately started to slip in. I, however, do not face this embarrassing truth alone; all of us at Grady must come to terms with this fact. The English that many Grady students speak today is a vat full of slang, butchered terms and sayings most teachers and adults can’t comprehend. From where does our slang Ansley Marks originate and what does it mean? When several teachers were asked the meaning of commonly used terms at Grady—such as OOMF, HMU, SMH, Bae, and finesse—many were at a loss for words. Advanced Placement Environmental Science and Oceanography teacher Korri Ellis guessed the meaning of OOMF and HMU. “OOMF could be when you see someone cute, and you say OOMF,” Ellis explained. “HMU could mean ‘hold my underwear.’” Valiant guesses, but Ellis was wrong with both of them. OOMF is an acronym which stands for “one of my followers,” meaning a person who follows another on Instagram, Twitter, or a social media site. HMU means “hit (or hook) me up”. HMU is commonly used at the end of a brief conversation in which one person wants the other to contact them later. Advanced Placement Calculus teacher Andrew Nichols took a shot at guessing the meaning of SMH, which he described as meaning “so much homework.”
Shwear to gahd
“We have a test today? Shwear to gahd...” –Alex Fairley, junior
“Say you’re about to skip class and then someone says,‘It’s dead bro because Howard’s there.’ Then you know not to skip.”– Ethan Jackson, senior
“Flexing is when a man tries to put out his swag but doesn’t actually have it.” – Graham Ruder, senior
SMH stands for “shaking my head,” and can be used when one has no words for an action that may be considered ridiculous or silly. Science teacher David Olorunfemi tried to determine the meaning of slang terms at Grady by using the forms in sentences. “Boo could be used as ‘kiss my boo’ or something like that,” Olorunfemi said. Although many of the terms that the teachers are trying to explain usually show up via text messaging and over social media, the majority of “Grady dialect” originates from famous rap songs. Because Grady is situated in urban Atlanta—an area where rap is popular—Grady is exposed to rap artists such as 2 Chainz, Chief Keef, Kendrick Lamar, Drake and many others whose songs have infiltrated day-to-day conversations. Rap music constantly changes, frequently ushering out old styles and ushering in new ones. These changes often introduce new terms and slang that expand into mainstream usage. Terms such as ratchet (Ghetto diva), flex (a lie), swerve (to dodge someone) or even the exhausted term of 2012, YOLO (you only live once), all originated as the center of focus or an adlib in a recent rap song. Grady’s dialect, likewise, evolves with the shifting popularity of rap songs. Terms end up sharing a dumpster with other outdated hip-hop slang such as phat or bling. Eventually there will even come a time when Grady students will grow to adulthood and dismiss the younger generation’s slang and gibberish. Grady alums will be puzzled and try to make sense out of the new lingo (language of a specific people) similar to the fruitless efforts of some of the teachers at Grady. p
“If I see that you’re in the same area as me, but I don’t have your number, I’ll comment ‘HMU’ so you can text me” -Shaquandra Shropshire, senior
“Basically when I make consecutive baskets, I yell out ‘Spraygame’ or ‘Splash.’” -Chandler Organ, senior
“Swerve is putting the moves on a girl.” - Joe Bradley, junior