Editorial: The South Fulton Effect

Editorial by Kendall Henry

Often, the news shows our beloved City of South Fulton in a negative light. They don’t show the positive events, the people produced, and the impacts made every day in South Fulton. The media does not show The South Fulton Effect. I was raised in the City of South Fulton. I now attend the University of Georgia as a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major and Public Health minor. I am heavily involved on campus. I have made it my mission to apply my upbringing to my current life. 

I attended Randolph Elementary School. As a dolphin, I was introduced to Girl Scouts. I started off as a Brownie in 2009 as part of the Randolph Girl Scouts and completed my GS journey in May 2019 with earning the prestigious Gold Award. I devoted a part of my life to Girl Scouts and community service. In addition, I participated in WAPR. Welcome Asa Philip Randolph was the televised morning announcements. I was a news anchor on the show during my fourth and fifth grade year. This opportunity helped me gain comfort in public speaking. My first cheerleading experience was with Sandtown Park Recreational Sports. I cheered for the football team. I learned the basics of teamwork and cheerleading here. The South Fulton Effect is how I now organize my own service events, participate in multiple service organizations on UGA’s campus, speak in front of large crowds with no anxiety, and cheer on the UGA Competition Cheerleading Squad.

During my fifth-grade year, I remember hearing that some of my classmates were planning to attend Ridgeview Charter for middle school. When I asked them why, they all told me “because it is better than Sandtown”. I was not quite sure what that meant but I knew I wanted to go to the “better” school. My parents quickly shut down my notions and I was off to Sandtown for middle school. As a Jaguar, I participated in too many clubs to name. From yearbook club to cheerleading, I stayed after school every day of the week for three years straight. Sandtown provided me with so many opportunities that broadened my horizons. I am forever grateful for that. This taught me time management and prioritizing. I know that Sandtown was the “better” school and gave me foundation. The South Fulton effect is how learned how to balance all of my organizations at UGA and still make stellar grades.

I then became a lion at Westlake High School. This was the school to attend. My old classmates from Randolph attended North Fulton middle schools, fled back down to the south to gain admissions into our esteemed Magnet program. At Westlake, I learned early about the college admissions process. Therefore, from freshman year on forward I knew my goals. During my sophomore year, UGA admissions office hosted an in-house field trip. This was my first introduction to what the University of Georgia had to offer, and I also met my admissions counselor. I had no idea that I would later attend this was the school for my undergraduate degree. Also, I was in the Magnet and International Baccalaureate program. These programs pushed me to critically think and strive for academic excellence. Ultimately, I graduated with an IB Certificate and in the top 25 of my 500+ class. Sandtown’s foundation helped me stay involved at Westlake and I essentially touched every club the school had to offer. I cheered on Friday nights and led my school as SGA Vice President weekly. In addition, I developed the infamous renaming the city petition as a Westlake Lion. The petition allowed me to see government procedures and acquire a sense of community. Due to the Magnet/IB program rigor, I was a competitive college applicant and gained admissions into a prestigious public institution debt-free. In addition, I can handle heavy course loads with no problem. This is how I completed eight courses and finished my first college semester with a 3.9 GPA. Due to the vulnerability and success of my petition, I am now the only African American female Senator representing the class of 2023 at UGA. In this role, I have the power to write legislation that impacts the entire 35,000 student population. This is the South Fulton effect.

I am grateful for my upbringing in the City of South Fulton. My experiences here have truly shaped me and made me the person I am today. The people I have met here have been lifelong influences in my life. I will cherish this forever. Realize the positivity that is nurtured here. Power is being cultivated here. We must continue the South Fulton Effect.

About the Author

Kendall Henry is a permanent resident of the City of South Fulton. She is a recent graduate of Westlake High School. She now attends college at The University of Georgia where she is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Henry is most known for her participation in the city name change referendum. Henry spoke before the city council and delivered speeches on the importance of including the residents in voting processes. As a result of her petition, the mayor of the city vetoed the first vote made by the council and reverted the name back to The City of South of Fulton. Kendall has been interviewed on WSB-TV, 11Alive, CBS46, and WABE 90.1.

Her biggest motivation for facilitating this movement was to show children and teens that you can still be involved in politics and be active in your community even though you are not eligible to vote. Henry is also a recipient of the Girl Scout Gold Award and Presidential Volunteer Service Award, both prestigious awards that are solely based on community service. Kendall has a passion for helping people to make progress in her community.

Photo: Kendall Henry addresses the City Council over the controversial name change in 2017.

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