Whitewater High School Principal Roy Rabold could have retired years ago based on years of employment, but he says he enjoys what he does everyday too much to leave.
Now in his fourth year at Whitewater, and in the 40th year of his career as an educator, Rabold says he originally thought he would be an accountant, but after one year at Florida Atlantic University, the Miami native switched majors to history. From there, he pursued an education career and taught for 11 years in the Miami area.
Rabold moved to Georgia and began teaching at North Clayton High School in 1982 before switching gears again and entering the administration side of things. Rabold’s first assistant principal position was at McIntosh High in 1987.
“Most educators retire at 30 years or a little bit after,” Rabold said. “But I still enjoy coming to work every day, so I still come to work every day.
Rabold and his wife Evelyn, a retired legal secretary, have lived in Fayette County since 1993. Their two daughters graduated from Sandy Creek High School, where Rabold was principal before joining Whitewater High, in 1997 and 1999.
“I enjoy being around the kids,” Rabold continued. “The kids make you feel young and keep you grounded.”
Rabold says Whitewater, which enjoys some of the highest standardized testing scores and lowest student discipline referral rates in the state, is a great school largely due to outside support of internal excellence.
“This is a great place to be,” Rabold said. “We have good kids, good community support and great parental support. All those things help make it a successful school.”
Rabold says Whitewater recently ranked number 26 of 414 high schools in Georgia for Advanced Placement scores, which he says reflects well on the school’s academic focus. But he says a “well balanced” school must also consider its fine arts, Career Tech and athletic programs as well. To those ends, he notes that the school’s sports teams usually make the playoffs each year; the band, chorus and orchestra programs “always score ‘superior'”; and Whitewater’s Career Tech students generally place well in regional, state and national competitions.
“I like having a well-rounded school,” Rabold said.
Whitewater High is a pilot school for a computer animation program based on the Toon Boom Animation platform. While students currently can complete an introductory and follow-up class, eventually the program will be expanded to a three-year option through which students will earn industry certification. That certification would qualify students to become interns at major film animation studios.
Rabold says the advent of Pinewood Studios Atlanta spurred his interest in bringing the animation courses to Whitewater High, and he says he is really excited to know Georgia Military College, which broke ground last week on its new Fayetteville campus, will be partnering with Fayette County Public Schools to help students make the transition from high school programs to roles within the local film industry.
“We’re always looking for new and innovative things to do within Career Tech,” Rabold said.
Whitewater High is also recognized internationally for its German language program, led by one of Rabold’s first Whitewater new hires Patrick Wallis.
Rabold, who has toured much of Germany over the years, says Whitewater High is one of only 2,500 schools in the world, and the only one on the south side of Atlanta, recognized by the PASCH Network promoted by the German Consulate General to support top-performing German language educational programs such as the one at Whitewater High. According to a Fayette County Board of Education press release earlier this year, “Membership in the PASCH network allows schools to take advantage of the initiative’s many support services: assistance from teaching experts in Germany, access to teaching resources, participation in special exchange programs, and professional development programs for teachers.”
When Porche’s North American headquarters opens by the airport in Atlanta, Rabold says he believes Whitewater High will be well positioned to make beneficial connections for its students.
“Mr. Wallis has done a great job with the German program,” Rabold said. “We’ve had visitors from the German Embassy in Washington and from the consulate in Atlanta. And the Goethe Institute in Atlanta works with us in developing the German program here.”
And while Whitewater High students are the grateful beneficiaries of top-ranking programs and excellent community and parental support, Rabold says he and his staff encourage the students to give back to the community as well. “Pennies for Patients”, canned food drives and other student-led initiatives have been successful at the school, he says.
“We realize that community support is important for us to be successful, and we want to support the community,” Rabold said.