September 2nd marked the first day of school for the Manchester School District. I woke up on this day feeling many different emotions: nervousness, anxiousness, excitement, and pride. Nervous and anxious because this was my first day in school with my new role as a team leader. Excited because I was returning to Beech Street Elementary School , where I served last year. There are many students there that I know and love. And proud because I was representing City Year knowing what my red jacket means to these students.
The best part of the day was when we first got to Beech Street. As we went outside to greet the students, the air was buzzing with energy and excitement. I quickly lost track of how many hellos, high fives, and side-hugs I received. My team eagerly jumped in and started introducing themselves to students. It was amazing to see the kids’ reactions to them. Even though these new “City Years” were strangers to them, they immediately trusted the corps members because they trusted City Year and knew we were there to help them. To many of them, our jackets symbolize hope.
I have seen firsthand the effect our uniforms have on the students. Whenever they see us, even if they don’t personally know us, they’re faces light up. I credit this to all the hard work of the City Year alumni that came before us. I credit it specifically at Beech Street, to my team last year. You can see the impact our team had by walking through the school and seeing the service projects we did last year or by talking to some of the teachers, staff, or students, who are more than willing to share a story about their favorite “City Year.” As I look at the team I am leading now, I see their potential and know that they will also leave a lasting impact on our school this year.
Looking around at all the students running, talking to corps members, and finding classes, I felt a great sense of purpose on this day. All that went through my mind was, This is where we will transform lives this year. This is where we can be the change we wish to see.
-Becky, Team Leader for Beech Street Elementary School