Butler challenges Cross Creek

Chris Thelen/Staff
NFL tight end and Butler High School alumnus Ben Troupe signs autographs for Butler students during a pep rally in the school's gymnasium. The rally was to get them motivated for the Georgia High School Graduation Test.

Butler High School "called out" its cross-town rival on Friday, but the challenge had little to do with sports.

The Lumpkin Road school challenged Cross Creek High to beat it in the classroom on the Georgia High School Graduation Test in March. Students must pass all sections of the test in order to earn a diploma.

"We're taking you down, my brother," Butler Principal Walter Reeves said to Cross Creek Assistant Principal Ricky Lumpkin during a Friday assembly.

Using what resembled a professional wrestling move, a group of students playfully picked Mr. Lumpkin up and put him down on the ground.

"It's going to be in the newspaper. It's going to be all over the place," Dr. Reeves said. "Butler is calling Cross Creek out."

On hand to help issue the challenge was Butler alum Ben Troupe, a tight end for the NFL's Tennessee Titans. The 2000 grad urged his fellow Bulldogs to "buckle down" and prepare for the graduation test.

He walked the same halls, had the same teachers and came from the same place as the students he spoke to, he said. They have the same opportunities that he did.

Mr. Troupe appealed to the students to see beyond themselves and understand that teachers don't need the students, the students need the teachers.

"Y'all think I'm somebody because I play in the NFL. I'm a nobody. Trust me," Mr. Troupe said. "The only reason I'm even half of what I am is because of them."

Mr. Lumpkin said "without a doubt" Cross Creek will beat Butler on the graduation test, but both schools will be winners.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

WANT A NEW CAR?

Rickey Lumpkin, the assistant principal of Cross Creek, issued his own challenge on Friday. He will buy any junior or senior who earns a perfect score on the SAT a new car. He issued a similar challenge in 2002 when he was assistant principal at Butler.


LAST YEAR'S PERFORMANCE

Here are the percentages of junior first-time test-takers at Butler and Cross Creek high schools who met or exceeded GHST standards.

ButlerCross CreekRichmond County
English909494
Mathematics838886
Social Studies768580
Science486561

Source: Governor's Office of Student Achievement