From Cross Keys To Chamblee: Where They Stand Now

Yammile Garcia

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During the 2016 school year, DeKalb County School District held three meetings about redistricting options to reduce overcrowding in several of its schools. This affected nine schools including Cross Keys High School and Chamblee Charter High School. When new attendance lines were drawn, several students were redistricted from CKHS to CCHS.

When students were informed that they would no longer attend CKHS the upcoming school year, some were devastated while others saw this sudden change as something marvelous.

“I was honestly sad. In my head all I could think was that I going to leave all these people and now I have to go somewhere where I don’t know anybody. The first week I was non-stop crying, I was scared. It was a whole different place. I thought people here would be mean and not accept me,” said senior Yessenia Rodriguez.

Yessenia Rodriguez.

On the other hand, such as in the case of senior Anthony Villar, he was thrilled to hear about the sudden changes.

“I was nervous ‘cause I didn’t know how the environment was going to be. It was going to be a different thing altogether ‘cause this school is more academic than CK,” said Villar. “I know a lot of people were upset but I wasn’t. I was actually excited ‘cause I had heard so many good things about this school and it looked like a really nice campus to be on.”

When senior student Alan Reyes heard that a few students from CKHS would be transferred over to CCHS, he felt that the decision the county had made was right.

“I wasn’t bothered by it. I know that at the start of this a lot of people were quite upset that Chamblee would be receiving Cross Keys students. There was really nothing we could do at that point, the decision was made. Overcrowding in schools has started to become a problem and doesn’t really seem to be getting better. If it meant bringing some Cross Keys students over, then, by all means, it was a good decision. You have to start somewhere with fixing the problem,” said Reyes.

Student Brianna Berduo felt that the choice that had been made was ideal at the moment.

Brianna Berduo.

“Looking back at it now it was probably a good idea that they moved us to Chamblee. They’re building up new schools to deal with overcrowding but during that year I don’t think they could have quickly built up a new school for us so I really think there was no other way to deal with the problem,” said Berduo.

While there were other options for redistricting, some students felt that the situation could’ve been approached in a different matter.

“It could have all been done differently,” said senior Sheyla Perez. “They should’ve considered that we had already settled down at CK and had our minds set that we were going to graduate there. I know that most of the meetings that they had about this were open to anyone but I don’t think they really listened to what the students wanted. I think they should’ve waited longer to come up with any ideas.”

Shayla Perez.

Arriving at a new environment can be very difficult. There are various new rules as well as other settings to get used to. For the former CKHS students, they found that the most difficult part of CCHS was the students around them.

“I did not like the school, I felt like I did not fit in here,” said Rodrigo Medina. “Everyone here knew that I came from Cross Keys school, or what some liked to call as the ‘ghetto school.’ Everybody thought I was sketchy looking and never wanted to approach me or take me into their circle just because I came from Cross Keys.”

Rodrigo Medina.

Senior Matthew Anderson noticed that students at CCHS each stayed in their circle of friends and never seemed to interact with another, which gave off a bad impression.

“Not everyone here is friendly. I’ll admit that CK has some factors like that as well but at least people there are willing to take others into their friend group and try to get to know each other,” said Anderson. “Chamblee is known for being a diverse school but it actually isn’t diverse. The only reason I say that is because when you see the groups of friends they’re not diverse at all. The area where people sit in the cafeteria is a great example, you don’t really see other races interacting, they have all separated each other up and I don’t think they do it intentionally but it’s still there.”

Within the first few weeks of the arrival of the CKHS students, a scandal occurred due to writing on a bathroom wall that was directed to former Cross Keys students stating that they should go back.

“It was horrible, I came from CK and so did others. It didn’t feel right and I didn’t like it either. We were new here and we kind of didn’t want to be here and then this happened and now it was like okay I really don’t want to be here,” said Jaqueline Romero. “I wish they would’ve understood that it wasn’t our choice to move here, it was the county’s choice.”

Jaqueline Romero.

Brenden Perez, who was already a Chamblee student, felt that it was wrong for CCHS students to be taking in the new students in that matter.

“I can’t really imagine what they were going through. We gave off a bad impression to Cross Keys students that us Chamblee students aren’t accepting of others which isn’t true. I was more than okay with the idea of having students from another school join the Chamblee [family],” said Brenden Perez.  

Compared to CKHS, CCHS has various differences ranging from rules all the way to the academic work.

“Wearing no uniform was new to me and something I was for. Having seven classes a day threw me off. I was so used to having a block schedule,” said Adolfo Berduo. “It was seven classes which meant homework from seven different teachers. The time spent in a class period was very different from Cross Keys, we only get fifty-five minutes per period here and at Cross Keys, it was an hour and thirty minutes. I received less homework there or sometimes none at all because we had so much time in the class period.”

Adolfo Berduo.

Aside from the difference in time spent in classes, students found the work that they were given much more difficult than that given at CKHS.

“The work at CK was easier, I’m not trying to be biased since I only spent one year there but it does seem more different to me,” said Geovanni Bautista. “It is a good thing though, the teachers here are pushing is to try harder and are always challenging us.”

Anderson feels that the work given here is more challenging, but that the teachers don’t put a lot of fun into their classes and work.

Matthew Anderson.

“At Cross Keys everything was alive but here it is just so boring. In certain teachers’ classes they teach but in a way that it is really fun but in my other classes it’s just boring and I can fall asleep easily,” said Anderson. “The work is more challenging but it’s boring. At Cross Keys we had one of the biggest projects, it was called ‘The Buhi Project’ and it was challenging but it was also fun. We got to work on helping out the Buford Highway area and talk to higher up people and we somehow managed to get some of our ideas to get approved. I wish that teachers could be like that sometimes, they just need more [enthusiasm].”

Some students decided to head back to CKHS. Many of the students that had arrived with those who had left felt that it was in the right place for the students to go back.

“Not everyone adjusted well and it’s okay, it’s nothing to be ashamed of,” said Kenya Roblero. “In our own ways, I think we all thought about going back. Everything was just so new and it can be hard to get used to.”

Student Yesenia Rodriguez felt that it was unfair that the students that decided to leave didn’t really see what CCHS had to offer.

“They should have given Chamblee more time. It’s such a great school. I mean look at all of us now, we were so terrified but here we are now about to graduate as a Chamblee Bulldog and it has been a good experience,” said Rodriguez.

Although the change was sudden and seemed overwhelming the students eventually adjusted and settled down into the new school environment.

“I don’t think I would go back to Cross Keys. I know that I spent most of my time with the people over there, but Chamblee has so much to offer as well. I met so many people and learned new things along the way and I think it has helped me prepare for the real world,” said Wilson Deleon

The former Cross Keys students are now on their senior year and will soon be graduating. Although most didn’t want to accept the idea of moving they now completely identify themselves as CCHS Bulldogs and are thankful for the county’s choice.