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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Robert Yost, November 22, 2000. Interview K-0487. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Image problem at West Charlotte

Yost says that West Charlotte High School has "an image problem," and he encourages his chess players to try to improve the school's reputation.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Robert Yost, November 22, 2000. Interview K-0487. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

ROBERT YOST:
I always want them to, I think that we have such a reputation with Charlotte that we really have to work on our reputation. So I don't allow anything like that.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
When you say reputation, what-?
ROBERT YOST:
Well, let me tell you something. You know, the news. Anytime there's a shooting or something, usually it's, they say West Charlotte. They're not talking about West Charlotte High School often, although we've had our problems. I mean, I've had five students over my thirteen years of teaching that have been murdered. Shriek Adams is the last one. I had him for two years. I have one kid who is in jail for murder. I've had other students come through my classes that have committed many charges against them. In and out of prisons. So we have a lot of students who have been in the court system. And when they say West Charlotte, a lot of people will associate that with the school part of town. So a lot of times we have an image problem. Inner city school. And we have to overcome that. So we don't want to give anybody any ammunition. That's what I always tell my students. We've really got to try hard. It's not like we're East Mac or Independence or Providence. You know, we had a shooting. I don't know if you were here, years ago, there was a shooting at a football game and several people were shot.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
Yes. Right.
ROBERT YOST:
So we've got that kind of image to overcome.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
How do the kids react when you tell them that? I mean, when you talk to them. What's their perspective on this?
ROBERT YOST:
They humor me.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
Do you think they're less concerned with that, really, than you are?
ROBERT YOST:
I think they are. I'm very concerned about it. But I have decided that we're going to have a classy program with or without them. And if they can't go along with the rules, they won't play. But yes, I want to have a classy program. I don't want to have to overcome all kinds of barriers.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
That's really interesting. I mean, you feel that that's been sort of, people have thought about, I mean that's been a sort of ongoing issue for people in a lot of areas of West Charlotte because of that.
ROBERT YOST:
There is a perception of West Charlotte. And with the change in demographics that we have, the change in school population, it's becoming more and more to the forefront. So I don't want to give anybody any kind of ammunition to put us down. We've got enough problems. And we've been through, what, five or six principals since '94. We don't need it.
PAMELA GRUNDY:
You say, I'm interested. You talk about the media here. Is this a statewide reputation? I mean statewide [unclear]
ROBERT YOST:
Absolutely. Absolutely.