Above: City Year Baton Rouge recieved its fifth Best of City Year award.

Written by Colleen Morgan, Senior AmeriCorps Member serving at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School

Boston, Massachusetts is home to many things. Nearly 35 sports championships, a harbor once full of tea indicating the beginning of America’s fights for freedom, and the birthplace of nation service. City Year Baton Rouge traveled 1,575 miles to attend City Year Summer Academy to join up with over 1,400 other idealists as they reflected over the previous year of service and paved a path into the upcoming year of opportunity.  

Over the course of the week, several people stood up and spoke words of wisdom, led powerful reflections and read aloud statistics showing the vast success of City Year across the network. With all of this heartwarming information, Summer Academy soon became a place full of love and determination. It was evident that each person in attendance was there for the same reason, they wanted to #makebetterhappen all across their comminutes, nation and world, and no one was going to let anyone else fail in the process.  Two time City Year Baton Rouge AmeriCorps alumnus and current Celerity Crestworth teacher Tavidee Hoskins joined the festivities during Ubuntu Night, where he opened the night with his original piece, "My Brother."

In light of the recent tragedies over the course of a few months, many speakers devoted moments of silence and encouraging words that there is hope. Throughout the week, conversations and dialogues were built around bettering our service for our students. Each night, people were told how much they were appreciated, they were loved and they were supported. Surrounded by the values of Ubuntu and Inclusivity, City Year proved that each person in the room was meant to be there, and each of us were to play a part in the bigger picture of Education as a pathway to social justice. 

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