By Princess Akosah AmeriCorps member, 93rd Street Elementary School

Cecilia Hamilton is a 4th grade partner teacher and South Central Los Angeles native. She is a graduate of Mount St. Mary's University, Cal State University Dominguez Hills, and National University. Mrs. Hamilton has been with LAUSD for 17 years, and at 93rd Street Elementary for 6 years. When asked why she chose 93rd Street, she said she wanted to give students in the community a quality education and a caring environment.

"Many people, unfortunately, judge our community and our students -- this is so unfair. I believe when one is in the position to shape and change for the better, one must go where the need is the greatest. That is the true meaning of service to others."

Q: How has City Year had an impact on you?

A: City Year has impacted my teaching in a positive way. I’m able to have daily dialogue with a team member who is also interested in teaching and helping our students achieve not only academically, but also socially and emotionally. Not only am I able to assist and offer possible solutions to my City Year associate, I can also ask advice and feedback from her, and learn. I’m also able to get another person's perspective on whether something is effective for the students, or if we need to make adjustments. I feel supported and part of a team where both want to achieve positive results.

Tonya Thurmond was born in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of ten, she relocated to California.  A product of LAUSD schools, Tonya is a third grade teacher at 93rd Street Elementary. She has been teaching here since 1997. She is a mother of four and an educator to hundreds.

Q: How has City Year made an impact at 93rd Street Elementary?

A: City Year’s impact is far reaching. They have had enormous impact on the students, teachers, and the culture of our campus as a whole. They are shoulder-to-shoulder with the students motivating them and encouraging them from the time they set foot on campus until well after the dismissal bell rings. City Year is POWERFUL!

Olga Calacuayo has been teaching at 93rd St. Elementary for 2 years. She’s driven by a desire to transform the students she loves through learning. 

Q: How has City Year made an impact at 93rd Street Elementary?

A: Here’s an example: Veronica was a very shy girl who lacked confidence and assertiveness while participating in class discussions.  Participating in City Year has afforded her the additional support she needs in both her academic and emotional growth.  Working with [City Year AmeriCorps member] Ms. Carolina on a daily basis has been a positive experience for her.  Veronica knows she has an adult she can rely on to help her with her schoolwork. She doesn’t have the full support at home because of a language barrier.  City Year has a positive impact on our community because not only do they help our students, but motivate them to become better people.  Professionally, it has had a big impact on me because I’ve gotten to know my students on a more personal level. I have been a teacher at 93rd St. for 2 years and I am impressed at how our students are encouraged and pushed to strive to be better.


Follow the 93rd Street Elementary School team (@cyla_jagswag) on Instagram!

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