Alumni Spotlight: Geoffrey Graybeal

Graybeal recreates the 1997 photo with his high school friends in May 2017. (Photo used by permission of Geoffrey Graybeal)Graybeal recreates the 1997 photo with his high school friends in May 2017. (Photo used by permission of Geoffrey Graybeal)

Geoffrey Graybeal was a student at Leesville from 1993-97 and wrote for the Mycenaean as a staff writer and Co-Editor in Chief. Below is a quote from him as well as a few excerpts of his writing from the 1996-97 editions of the print newspaper. His quote has been lightly edited for clarity.

“I wrote for the Mycenaean from 1994-1997 and was the Editor my senior year (Class of ’97). I also wrote for a weekly community newspaper owned by the Herald-Sun (now defunct) called the Raleigh Extra while I was in school. I covered a lot of prep sports initially.

I went on to become a collegiate newspaper editor and earned three degrees in journalism and mass communication; worked in journalism; and then taught college journalism courses (at the University of Georgia, University of Hartford and Texas Tech University) for almost a decade before moving to the J. Mack Robinson College of Business this year, where I teach courses on entrepreneurship.

I would point to three lasting impacts, in no particular order of importance, that Leesville has had on my life:

Graybeal_early

Graybeal and his high school friends c. 1997. (Photo used by permission of Geoffrey Graybeal)

1) Journalism: I actually began my journalism career in middle school, serving as the first Editor of Paw Print, the [Leesville] Middle School newspaper; launching a broadcast at LMS, and serving as co-copy editor of the middle school newspaper before continuing those opportunities in high school. Leesville afforded me opportunities to practice journalism and hone my skills as an editor and reporter, which I continued to practice for about two decades, including teaching others news writing, news editing, multimedia journalism, social media, public relations, professional communication, etc.

2) Education: One of the really awesome and unique aspects about Leesville when I was in school…was a program called Paideia, which involved heavy use of the Socratic method of learning and modeled off pedagogical teaching practices of a man named Mortimer Adler. Paideia involved a team format of Social Studies and English classes, and several seminars that featured “inner circle” discussants and “outer circle” observers. This kind of teaching really taught analytic skills and modeled the type of 3-hour seminar classes that are taught in graduate school. … I don’t think I would have ever earned a doctoral degree or be a college educator today if it weren’t for Paideia.

[Also,] Leesville has always had excellent teachers. There are too many for me to name, and I don’t mean to exclude any, but Mary Propes, Patsy Stone, and Francis Bryant taught me… and I’m forever grateful for being a student of theirs. I [also] enjoyed Angela Panel Scioli’s courses, even though she was a new teacher fresh out of college when I was her student. I’ve followed her career, watching the ‘Teacher of the Year’ documentary and following her social activism with the Red4Ed movement. I admire her passion and dedication to Pride students.

Graybeal recreates the 1997 photo with his high school friends in May 2017. (Photo used by permission of Geoffrey Graybeal)

Graybeal recreates the 1997 photo with his high school friends in May 2017. (Photo used by permission of Geoffrey Graybeal)

3) Brotherhood: I still keep in touch with many of my classmates from Leesville. My core group of friends have remained friends throughout high school and ever since. We maintain a regular email thread, regular group text chats, and have been to each others’ weddings, witnessed the births of each others’ children, so on and so forth. That core group of friends from Leesville is like a brotherhood.”

 

-Geoffrey Graybeal, Co-Editor in Chief for the Mycenaen, Class of 1996-97’–via email

 


 

During his time at Leesville, Graybeal was a staff writer and co-Editor in Chief for the Mycenaean; below is an article written by Graybeal for the Homecoming print edition of the Mycenaean in 1996; in the article, Graybeal reports on the influx of students returning to Leesville for the Homecoming game.

Staff Editorial: Graduates and Students Come Home

Geoffrey Graybeal, Co-Editor in Chief; Homecoming Edition of the Mycenaean 1996

Thomas Wolfe once wrote, “You can’t go home again.” As Homecoming rolled around at Leesville once again, graduates certainly proved him wrong. There truly is ‘pride’ in Leesville High School and that is demonstrated time and time again by the support the graduates give back to the school after their departure. Despite a football team that has piled up more losses than wins, Pride fans continually flock to the stadium in support.

A photo from the 1996 Homecoming game. (Photo used by permission of the Leesville Menagerie)

A photo from the 1996 Homecoming game. (Photo used by permission of the Leesville Menagerie)

Leesville Road has had only two graduating classes but the fact that so many graduates have ‘come home’ speaks highly of the school. For Leesville consists of caring, motivating teachers, a superb staff and administration, and the best student body in the state. In essence, the four years you spend (or the two or three years in the graduate cases) at Leesville are years you will never forget. Our school is truly a home — a community.

It is a place where one can grow — not just academically and athletically — but mature as a person along the way as well. It is a place where friendships are formed and memories are made that will last forever.

Considering all these things it is no surprise to the Mycenaean staff that so many students have returned to offer a hearty “hello again” after saying heartfelt goodbyes in June. But “homecoming” can be more than just one-day. It can be any day and has been. During colleges’ fall breaks, the familiar faces of many graduates could be seen roaming the halls of Leesville High School. Last year’s valedictorian, Jason Barnhill, returned as an admissions representative for Duke University.

Spirit in one’s school never dies. It is so compelling that one longs for return. And at Leesville the doors will always be open and there will be open arms ready to embrace. Regardless of what Wolfe says, LHS students know we can always return home, for the pride will be forever in our minds, in our souls, and in our hearts.


 

Up until 2016, the Mycenaean printed ‘senior wills’ in the senior edition of the print newspaper. Senior wills are short testaments to a student’s time at Leesville, as seniors ‘leave’ inside jokes, burdens, and memories with the remaining student body — much as a deceased person would leave their property. Below is an excerpt from Geoffrey Graybeal’s senior will, in which he details the memories that he leaves behind for “the rest of Da Ville'” — Leesville students and staff.

Excerpt from Geoffrey Graybeal’s Senior Will

“To the rest of Da Ville’: I leave behind all of those Raleigh Extra and the Mycenaean articles. It’s been a fun four years. I’ve enjoyed covering all the sporting events and writing about the talented Leesville athletes. I will miss this place and truly treasure the memories. Good luck in the future!”

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