Rebekah Bullock, 25, is the goalie coach, swim coach and volleyball coach at Grayson.
The Parkview graduate played soccer at Berry College where she got her undergraduate and graduate degrees before returning to Gwinnett as a teacher and coach. In this installment of "Getting to Know," Bullock talks with staff writer Ben Beitzel about her first year teaching health, P.E. and body sculpting at Grayson, her strange college soccer career and her plans for summer break.
BB: What's this year been like adjusting to your first full year teaching?
RB: I was not expected to get this job. This is like a dream job that I would have expected to get five years down the road. I have been very blessed to get that. It's been great. The guys in my department, they are very nice to me. They tease me a lot like I am their little sister but they really help me out a lot. They have really showed me a lot of how to manage a classroom and how to incorporate being fun and being firm at the same time.
BB: At Berry, what did you study?
RB: I did health and physical education. And I stayed at got my master's at Berry and I did secondary education.
BB: So you liked Rome, then?
RB: I did. I kind of did soccer in an unconventional way. I got recruited to play at Berry and committed and decided not to play. So I didn't play my first three years, came back my senior year and played my senior year and played my two years of graduate school. (laughs) So I did it kind of weird. I made it to my senior year and I knew that I could have played and I had been recruited every year that I had been there and I didn't want to regret knowing I could have played and didn't do it.
So I decided with my student teaching -- and I was also a Bonner Scholar, which you do 10 hours of community service a week, 140 a semester -- I would just go ahead and add soccer on to that. It was good. It really taught me how to manage my time and I think it's really helped me a lot as far as being able to coach three sports and teach at the same time.BB: Being a college athlete alone is a huge time commitment.
RB: A lot of traveling. A lot of traveling. The girls were really good and having classes at night really made it a lot easier. I would go to practice earlier since I was a goalkeeper and I could do my goalkeeper training with my coach and then leave as they were coming in to do regular practice and go do class.
BB: I guess that's true, you don't really need to be at practice.
RB: No. If they were having a shooting drill they would save that for the day that I didn't have class and that way I would stay.
BB: Was Berry pretty receptive to your schedule, especially with the traveling?
RB: I was real lucky that I ended up not missing a lot of class because my classes were Monday and Wednesday. Most of my traveling would have been Thursday through Sunday, so I never had to miss that much class.
BB: A lot of reading on the bus?
RB: (laughs) A lot of reading on the bus. A lot of reading on the bus.
BB: You said this was a dream job. How did you get it?
RB: I did all my student teaching in elementary school. When I was applying for jobs I had an interview as the adapted P.E. teacher for Gwinnett County. I didn't get that and they posted this (job at Grayson) on like a Friday and my mom called me and said, 'Hey, there's this job opening at Grayson, you should apply for it.' I ended up getting an interview on Tuesday and ending up getting the job on Tuesday as well. It just opened up.
BB: Soccer I get, but how'd you get roped into all these coaching gigs?
RB: It started off that it was pretty much, 'What can you coach?' and I was like, 'I can do soccer, I can do cross country, I can do track, I can do basketball.' He was like, 'How about swim and dive?' I was in class with the assistant coach at Berry and I said, 'I can give that a try, I can talk to him about it and we can kind of figure out something.' When they called me back they said you would be the head swim and dive coach and you would also do volleyball. After I got here, in that first week, the soccer people came up to me and said, 'Hey, we heard that you played at Berry, we'd love to have you come on and help.' So then I got into soccer.
BB: You mean they didn't remember you from your days at Parkview?
RB: They weren't here. When Grayson played Parkview in the state championship game, that was in 2007. I had already been gone for two years.
BB: I just figure your legacy...RB: (laughs) I personally wasn't that good. I had an amazing team and they made me look good. I had two state championships, which was an incredible thing to be a part of. But those were exceptional teams. The teams, they made me look good. ... Not many people got shots on me. It made me look good.
BB: You are coming to the end of your first year, which sport did you enjoy coaching the most?
RB: I don't know that I can say one. Obviously soccer is the one I know the most, so I enjoy being able to have more input. Volleyball was great because it was such a small-knit group of girls, so getting to know them and what they want to do in life and then being able to, again, connect volleyball with life and what they want to do. ... Swim and dive, there are so many people involved and so many things you have to do.
It really helped me be more organized. You have to see the meet, you have to put it into the system, you have to call the coaches, you have to make sure everyone is swimming what they want to swim, make sure everyone is swimming so we are able to win the most. I can't say I liked one better than the other, all of them were great things to be a part of.
BB: Did you want to get back to Gwinnett or is this an accident?
RB: I would say that when I left my goal was to eventually be back in Gwinnett. Gwinnett has such a great school system and such great sports teams. Since I grew up here, I knew how good they were and how much they prepared me to be at Berry. I just definitely did not expect it to happen within the first year of getting a job. I am blessed beyond measure.
BB: Isn't it a bit strange to be back where you grew up?
RB: I am the middle of five kids. My family is very, very close. My brother and sister are twins; they went to Berry as well. So, (laughing), they want to be just like me. Having them around all the time, we are just a real close family. I applied for some jobs in like Hilton Head and places like that. I thought it'd be fun to be at the beach or whatever.
BB: How do you spend your time away from school now that you're back home?
RB: Stone Mountain is probably one of my favorite places to go. I probably go there once a week. I love to go hike around it. The laser show is incredible. It's very family-oriented. Lots of parks. I am a very outdoorsy person, so I love to be anywhere I can be outside a lot. I feel like Gwinnett has a lot of outdoor things to offer.
BB: It's your first summer as a teacher. What are your plans?
RB: My older brother lives in California and I am going to stay with him for a month in California.
RB: He lives in Los Angeles. He lives in Beverly Hills. I am going to go out there and my plan is to wake up, work out and lay out (laughs).
My younger brother is a senior at Berry and he works for Delta and he gets good discounts so we, as a family, are going to go to Europe like the day after graduation.
We are going to go to Barcelona, Greece and maybe Amsterdam. But I have to be back here July 16 for volleyball. So I only really have two months. I have worked since I was 13, so this will be my first summer where I won't be working at all. I am excited, but it's good to see if I can actually make it that long without doing something.