I am a student at Cedar Shoals. Recently, I spoke out against the Athens Banner-Herald for their lack of equal representation of Athens high schools. After the start of the high-school football season, OnlineAthens posted articles about the wins of Clarke Central and Oconee County high schools, but not the win of Cedar Shoals against Madison County. In their football roundup, they wrote a very vague paragraph about the Cedar vs. Madison game, not mentioning anybody by name, yet players from other schools were recognized by name.
This problem goes far beyond football. Around Athens, Cedar Shoals is known as the “bad” high school, which is completely untrue. Whenever Cedar Shoals is in the media, especially on OnlineAthens, it is because there was a negative incident. Compared to our counterpart, Clarke Central, everybody knows about our failures, but not theirs.
This issue still is not about the failures of the two schools—it is the fact that the accomplishments of Cedar Shoals are not often recognized, and certainly not as much as Clarke Central. This problem of media portrayal has gone on for far too long. Everything that people know about the two high schools comes from our local news, and since a majority of articles about Cedar are negative, there is a negative connotation about our school.
I am very proud of going to Cedar Shoals, but it is very disheartening to see the reaction when you tell people you go to Cedar. We are not criminals, and we are not violent. Our students have been working hard to disprove our bad reputation, but it is still not recognized.
Through social media, I have gotten many students from different schools to comment under some of OnlineAthens’ Instagram posts to bring awareness to the media shutout of Cedar Shoals. I write this because it is time for a change. Cedar Shoals deserves to be looked at for what it really is: a good school with a dedicated student body. Sure, we have our problems, but they are no different than Clarke Central or any other high school. We are not the “bad” school in Athens. We are the future, and our students are tired of being looked down upon.
Writing to you is just the start of my plans for improving our reputation, and I hope Cedar Shoals sees a better reputation in the future.
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