The Witherite Law Group, 1-800-TruckWreck and Walmart, Inc. partnered on a pop-up shop inside South Atlanta High School, an Atlanta Public School on Hutchens Road, to help graduating seniors better prepare for what’s to come and what they can become.

Monday afternoon 1-800-TruckWreck and Walmart partnered to get South Atlanta High School seniors dressed for success.” Video by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Thirty-nine seniors made their way into the Innovation Lab on the third floor of the school to pick up his clothes for future job interviews, internships, meetings with college professors and whatever else is waiting for them professionally after high school.

Young men received two pairs of slacks, and two shirts, while young ladies received dresses, skirts or slacks and blouses. All 39 seniors were given $100 gift cards by a Walmart representative, Shante Phillips, who was on hand as part of the retail giant’s efforts to give back to the communities in Atlanta and surrounding areas.

“I believe this gives a good sense of the community involvement from our stores,” said Phillips, who started working for Walmart right out of high school and is now the market coordinator for the nine stores in the area. “We want to make sure our young adults are ready for their next stage. This shows that we want to be involved.”

“Honestly, it’s a blessing. I’m extremely appreciative,” said Tremayne Grace, an 18-year-old senior at South Atlanta School. Grace, who is tall and can have a hard time finding dress shirts and slacks, added, “I’m going to use this opportunity to be successful.”

Chyneathia Hutchins, 18, senior at South Atlanta High School is all smiles after receiving her dress clothes Monday afternoon. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

All of the seniors involved had to apply for this opportunity as well as for the “Making a Difference” scholarship from Witherite Law Group. The scholarship was created in 2016 and provides financial assistance to students who are leaders in their school. An award ceremony will take place Thursday, May 18.

Jada Fuller, 17, was preparing to talk to some cameramen in the room for the event when she added, “I feel this is a great opportunity. I feel like it’s very cool.”

Chyneathia Hutchins’ grandmother passed away when she was in second grade and she thinks about her a lot when she’s filling out college and job applications. “It makes me feel good to be given things that will help me get to the next level,” she said. “I’m ver grateful to be experiencing this opportunity.”

Witherite/1-800-TruckWreck attorney Johnquel Neal had to be on hand for this event. Having grown up in the inner-city she fully understands what a head start like some nice work clothes can be for a young person. She said, “These students are a reflection of who I am.”

Shante Phillips, Walmart Market Coordinator said, “It shows that we’re involved.” Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

“Before going to college, before doing any internships, we want to prepare them in advance,” Neal, a Clark Atlanta University graduate, said. “I’m here because I want to help propel the youth forward.”

The clothing was pre-packaged for the students and hanging on racks like at a dry cleaners. Maya Hightower, Director of Community Relations for Withewrite/1-800-TruckWreck said of the opportunity to give the students the business attire, “This is important because we want these kids to have the opportunity to feel confident when they are applying to jobs and for scholarships.”

Phillips captained this project and had a proud look on her face as students streamed in and out of the room. “I saw a need and I tried to fill it,” she said.

South Atlanta High School senior Tremayne Grace, 18. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice
This article is one of a series of articles produced by The Atlanta Voice through support provided by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to Word In Black, a collaborative of 10 Black-owned media outlets across the country.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...