by the City Year Jacksonville Wells Fargo Team Serving at The Edward H White Military Academy of Leadership

With the end of the school year comes the beginning of goodbyes. As our students take the final exams that we AmeriCorps members have been working with them to study for this past school year, we are realizing how far they’ve come. Of course, it’s rewarding to know that the lessons you’ve worked on together have actually made an impact on your students’ successes, but we’re also looking back on fond memories we’ve had this year and are overwhelmed by the impact our students have made on us as well. Each member of this team has learned something from our students that we will carry with us wherever we go next. Here are some our team’s takeaways from our year in service:

“This is cheesy, but I’ve learned that a positive attitude can change everything. [My starfish*] and some of my other students have this really upbeat spirit. At times, I’ve felt like maybe I shouldn’t be so goofy and energetic, but seeing those kids reminds me that having that
enthusiasm is okay
-Becca Kazdoy

“Last week, one of my students came in (as she always does) telling me she was in a bad mood and was going to have a terrible day. I smiled at her and said “Good Morning!” and started singing to her. Of course, she complained about my singing and told me she hated me, but within a few seconds, she was smiling. All it takes is a genuine smile or showing [someone] you care to turn their day around. It works both ways, from me to my students and vice versa. I think [this year] really showed me the importance of taking moments out of your day to acknowledge the people you love.
-Manuela Moreno

“I’m going to steal a quote from one of my students– I think I’m better at being a person now. Prior to City Year, I was constantly looking towards the future and very rarely took time to appreciate the moment I was in. I felt the brevity of this year pretty early on and it allowed me to see my time here as precious. In turn, I’ve become a lot more appreciative of the people in my life. I’ve also learned that pinky promises are an extremely potent tool, even amongst teenagers!”

-Tessa Delgo

“If at first something doesn’t make sense, read it again.”
-Mason Rogers

“[My students taught me] to listen with empathy.”
-Jae Littles

“My students taught me that anything is possible.”
-Quintin Griffin


“Every student has a specific perspective to bring to the table.
It’s time for the world to start listening.”

-Maddy Shaak


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