• 68°

Hartselle is home

By Brad Cooper 

Principal, Hartselle High School  

Being born and raised in Sardis City – a small, rural, tight-knit community – I had high expectations to live up to. My late father was an All-State running back for the Sardis Lions in the 1970s, and I had similar expectations placed on me during my time in high school.  

It is safe to say I didn’t live up to those expectations, as I was a 230-pound offensive lineman.  

Regardless, I loved the community and the closeness it brought to families. It was home, and it felt like it. 

Fast forward “a few years,” and it has been a total of two years and four months since my family and I began our immersion into Hartselle. When we first arrived, it was nothing short of a whirlwind. A new marriage, a new family, a new job and a new community; it all felt overwhelming. In addition, I was hired to lead a thriving high school of more than 100 faculty and staff members and 1,000 students who take academics and sports seriously.  

Although I had years of experience in a similar situation, it was still a new place with new people. 

Now things have slowed down for me and my family. We have settled into the community and school. During my two years and four months in Hartselle, I have learned a lot. Not being born and raised in Hartselle, I’ve observed several things: 

First, this community overwhelmingly loves Jesus. Being surrounded by a community of believers is amazing and encouraging! It is reassuring to know our leaders rely on guidance from God when making decisions that impact this community. That isn’t the case everywhere. 

Second, academic excellence in Hartselle is the expectation. Amazing administration and teachers, hard-working students and supportive parents expect nothing but the best! Our students expect to be challenged. They have amazing opportunities with a plethora of course options. That doesn’t happen everywhere. 

Third, athletic excellence is the only acceptable option in Hartselle. We have amazing coaches and athletes. Our coaches and athletes embrace the daily grind. We work hard, and we win in all sports. Our community demands success. This doesn’t happen everywhere. 

Finally, the most amazing thing about Hartselle is the culture. It is truly enjoyable to come to work every day. Our teachers and students work hard and enjoy the school atmosphere. Hartselle is one of the few places where it’s still cool to be a student. This certainly doesn’t exist everywhere. 

Folks of Hartselle, we have a treasure. I’m happy Hartselle is now my home. It isn’t just a place I call home; it truly feels like my hometown, and I love it. 

Now, let’s count our blessings and continue to build on this tradition of excellence. 

God Bless, and go Tigers!