July 31 – Clean It Up!


The weekend before school begins, Campbell hosts a campus clean up. Parents and teachers converge with rakes and shovels and gloves to pull weeds, spread pine straw and generally spruce up the joint. It’s a big job.

I feel for Campbell. It’s not the oldest high school in the county, but it’s up there. It’s history is rather convoluted. The land it sits on was donated, and the gentleman who donated it did so with just one stipulation: that the school forever be named in memory of his dear mamma Orme Campbell. Campbell High School, home of the Panthers, opened in 1952 (as a segregated school, mind you; it was integrated in 1967 or so). Fun fact: Julia Roberts is a graduate. Class of 1985.

Because of rapid growth in the Atlanta area, there was a series of school mergers and re-locations and mascot changes. Campbell merged with Wills High School to become Smyrna High School, home of the Spartans. This is why you still see a giant tiger (the mascot of Wills High School) painted in one hallway and several trophies dedicated to the Campbell Panthers in a trophy case near the cafeteria. There’s also a random mustang with the phrase, “Go Mustangs!” painted on a wall in the 600 hall. I have no idea what that’s from.

The Campbell family must have really loved their mamma, because somebody complained about the name change enough to get the courts involved. After the dust settled in 1990, Smyrna High School went back to being called Campbell High School, but stuck with the Spartan mascot.

Gigi went to elementary and middle school in East Cobb where there were more than enough mothers to organize and raise money and host and create amazing events at both schools. I will always be grateful for the time and attention those women put into making every student’s experience memorable.

It’s a little different at Campbell. It has been challenging to get parents to commit to helping out. I often see the same 15 or so parents at every event, pitching in to get a job done. Man, I love those people.

And that’s where I found myself today. On a sleepy Sunday morning in the hot Georgia sun. Pulling weeds, spreading pine straw and generally sprucing up the joint. The last time I would do it. The last time I would pretty up my beloved Tiger-Panther-Mustang-Spartan grounds. I was a little sad as we put away the last of the trash. I looked across the clean parking lot and thought, “Here’s to you Mrs. Campbell! You done good!”

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