Real Southern: McKinley Gropp

Introducing you to personalities of the South. 

Athens, Ga.
Co-Executive Director of Whatever It Takes

"One issue that is unfortunately overlooked, especially within higher income areas, is the persistence of inequality in our schools. The United States is incredibly divided as far as academic success, where there is a huge achievement gap between high and low performing states. Moreover, there is an undeniable correlation between financial deprivation and the success of students. Growing up in a primarily white, middle class neighborhood, I was never truly exposed to this inequity until I had the opportunity to look beyond the enclosing walls of our campus. My curiosity led me to twenty, wide-eyed Athens-Clark K-8 students, who desperately needed someone to help 'solve a problem.' What began as simply assisting a student with homework turned into a new-found passion; a passion to change the face of education, in hopes to continuously make small steps which will lead these children to recognize their full potential, take pride in their education, and see themselves as future leaders of America. These students wanted me to simply solve a problem, and in turn, I made a promise to solve an even bigger one."