Written by Kaia Duke, AmeriCorps Member serving on the Lamar Advertising Team at Melrose Elementary School. 

On Friday, January 15, 1CYBR came together to celebrate the “marriage” of the Melrose Elementary Team. Melrose hosted a beautiful wedding reception themed Community Meeting inspired by the wedding of one of our very own teammates, Nicole Shaw Quinn.

Community Meetings are a time of sharing a team’s personality. It’s interesting to see how teams begin their meetings. Some plan outrageous games of Clue or reenactments of The Real World. Melrose thought there was no better way to present our team than introducing each member of the “bridal party” as they danced down the aisle to their own song. We’re goofy, quite an odd bunch.

As we collected in Melrose’s gym and immersed our friends and fellow AmeriCorps Members in the culture of our team and school, we couldn’t help but be what we are with our students: odd balls of strangeness and laughter. We gathered together to not only celebrate our range of personalities joining as one Team Melrose, and thus part of 1CYBR, but to celebrate the reason we have all gathered in Baton Rouge. Our students are themselves strange small humans, some small balls of energy bouncing off walls, others quiet bookworms. These are our many reasons for gathering, for coming together and weaving our personalities into one.

 “We’re the Island of Misfit Toys,” says Rosalie Cole. Rosalie is quite right. In the Rudolph claymation, the toys don’t want to leave the island, and neither do we. We know and embrace our goofiness. As she says this, Krista Pregony attests to this, “Odd. We’re a strange bunch.”

If you want to know what Melrose students think of City Year, I’ll revert to the student quotes in the “Day in the Life” portion of the Community Meeting: silly, weird, goofy.

Goofiness is one of the best ways to be and was more than just adequately expressed in our Community Meeting. We danced down the aisle to a medley of Ray Charles, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Bruno Mars, Ricky Martin, K. Michelle, P!nk, Rich Homie Quan Flex, and Juvenile. Such a range of artists is just one way to illustrate the diversity of personalities on Team Melrose. This is what we loved sharing with the rest of our corps.

With goofiness comes laughter. The latter brings people together. It erases any strangeness that may have crept up in the month of not seeing each other. Goofiness and laughter are how we build bridges not just among ourselves, but with our students. The days of my best small groups are the ones when I put myself out there, willing to be silly and laughed at. When my students and I laugh together, we get on the same page and are more successful in the time we spend together than at any other time.

As we continue in our service this year, both my team and yours, let’s remember to keep laughter a daily part of our life. Working through rough patches and long days is made better by goofiness and being silly. Laughter breaks down awkwardness, buoys us as we drag, brings folks together, and ensures that a good time will be had by all. 

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