By Stephonie Rodgers, Second Year City Year Baton Rouge AmeriCorps member proudly serving on the Baton Rouge College Preparatory team.


“I've got! I've got! I've got! I've got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA!” – Kendrick Lamar

My phone buzzes in my ear as the clock turns to 5:00 a.m. and I know that it is time to prepare for my hour commute to Baton Rouge College Preparatory Charter School. I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, get in my car and turn on the “hypest” playlist in my music library as I cross the Atchafalaya Basin. This is my foundation for trying to #makebetterhappen.

The key to a great day of service is a positive spirit! There is no way you can have a great day with a bad attitude. I know that it’s early and I can barely see through the darkness as I drive across a bridge for 18 miles, but I have to channel the energy blasting through my speakers. Showing up to school with no spirit is like showing up to a basketball game wearing the wrong team colors. Students want to show up to an atmosphere that is welcoming and to people who are excited to see their faces. How else will they stay motivated through a long day full of coursework and instruction? As a City Year Baton Rouge AmeriCorps member, I have the opportunity to offer that extra burst of energy that my students need in order to remain attentive during those classes that they may struggle with or find more challenging than the others. I am also granted the privilege of working hard to be one more reason why my students want to show up the following day. 

Yes, there are some mornings when I want to press snooze and keep on dreaming, but my loyalty motivates me to show up for my students! So, I let Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics play the whole way through my commute as I pull up to my school lot. And although I cannot guarantee that the day will be perfect or that there won’t be challenges to overcome, I can guarantee that my students will have a positive spirit waiting at their classroom door to support them and see the greatness that lies within them. 

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