(Photo: At a school event, a student shows off school spirit as a "YA Knight.")

By Phebe Myers, AmeriCorps member serving on the Bank of America team with Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot K-8 School

Since the first day that my team walked into the cavernous building that is Young Achievers Science and Math Pilot K-8 School (YA) in Mattapan, we have felt at home. As the seventh City Year team to serve with the school, we have some large shoes to fill. Yet our partner school has welcomed us with open arms, constantly reminding how lucky we are to serve. Young Achievers celebrates the incredible diversity of cultures within its halls through an emphasis on social justice and a concrete focus on embracing our differences.

In November, right before the Thanksgiving break, the school put on one of their most joyous celebrations, the Cultural Heritage Festival. All the dance, music and drama teachers pooled their immense talents along with the incredible students to create a beautiful event that honored the diversity and backgrounds of the entire Young Achievers community. The auditorium was covered in bright flags representing the heritage of our students, and a rice festival followed the festivities. Each grade performed acts that they had written in collaboration with their teachers, and danced to the beat of various different drums. As students and teachers alike danced the salsa and the pasada, my heart felt full and grateful to the YA community for always making everyone feel welcome.

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