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A Day in the Life of a City Year

Each day AmeriCorps members wake up to serve another day in the beautiful Granite State. Fifty-three young people commute from near and far to join in the eclectic city of Manchester for a jam-packed day of service. Throughout the last few months, I’ve been privileged to be part of the corps, and I’ve learned that we are a diverse group of people. The one thing that undeniably unites us all is our desire to make better happen. Each day we have the opportunity to put our ideas into action at our respective schools. Here is a snapshot of a day in the life of a City Year AmeriCorps member at Henry Wilson Elementary School.

Our day begins promptly at 7:30am at which time the entire corps gathers adjacent to a pillar of the Manchester Community, the Merrimack River. It is here we execute a readiness check so that teammates can all be held accountable for each item of our fresh new uniforms.

Annika Bell greets students as they arrive at WilsonWe then begin our journey to school. We arrive with enough time to catch our breaths before my favorite part of service, morning greeting. Doors open for students at 8:15 and I give a cascade of high fives as students rush into the cafeteria for breakfast. Mornings are opportunities for students to start their days off right and City Year is always there to encourage a can-do attitude to even the sleepiest scholars.

The beginning school day is marked by the signature howl of the Wilson Wolf, and with that Wilson’s five City Years get started on a day chock-full of coaching students to be successful in English Language Arts, math, socio-emotional skills, and attendance.

Before you know it, the morning has flown by and it is time for recess! Each grade runs recess a little differently, but as the only City Year in 5th grade, I am always prepared to be out of breath after a heated game of sharks and minnows. Students also love to show off their basketball skills and to practice in anticipation for team tryouts.

After lunch is another highlight of my day because that means it is time to read! I absolutely love to watch students get immersed in the pages of a book. I see their frame of reference grow as each word is read, and it is an absolute joy. As students are lost in another world the time quickly is gone, and they pack up for dismissal. My two partner teachers and I wish our students well as we say goodbye and prepare the next exciting day of learning.

It has been such an honor to spend every day with my students; they never cease to amaze me. Every moment I spend helping students grow their minds is yet another opportunity to develop my own. They influence me to be curious and never to quit in the face of adversity. My students are my inspiration and they never cease to bring a smile to my face every day.

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