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Reflections on Service with the 8th Grade Team at Parkside

From L to R: Kendra Hurst (Team Dartmouth), Charlie Rogers (Team Brown), Richard Banach (Team Dartmouth), Alanna Kouri (Team Brown)


What has been a highlight from service this year?

Alanna: A highlight has been being paired with such a great team! My partner teachers took us in with open arms and always made us feel like a crucial part of the 8th grade team. We were immediately kept in the loop and utilized in our day-to-day. Considering this was City Year’s first year in 8th grade at Parkside, this welcoming environment was something that made my year special.

Richard: A specific situation that comes to mind is when I helped a student find a career that they could see themself being a part of. After asking the student what their hobbies were and what subjects they enjoyed, we whittled down a list of different jobs that are ideal for their interests. The unintended consequence of having this goal in mind is that the student became more invested in their schoolwork, motivating me to attempt to try this strategy with other students.

Kendra: A highlight has been getting to engage with my students on an individual level. It has been infinitely rewarding to get to know them and be a part of their learning.

Charlie: A highlight is getting to see the creativity of the students I work with firsthand. Many take vastly different approaches to problems than what I expect, and the way many include their humor and personal voice into their work always makes me smile.

What have you learned through this service year?

Richard: That no matter how small and insignificant you think an act may be, it could mean the world to a student. It is important to try and always be aware of students’ emotions and bring them up when they are down.

Kendra: I have learned that regardless of my situation I can make my service meaningful to me by focusing on why I have chosen to serve, who I am here to serve, and what I ultimately want to feel when I have completed my service year.

Charlie: I have learned that no matter the problem, coming together as a team to find a solution is always the best course of action. Our Parkside Team was able to accomplish and institute many exciting projects for the kiddos, that even though were difficult to plan and pull off, were made easier by coming together as a team.

What will you miss about serving at your school?

Alanna: I will miss the ridiculous things my students say that make my day! Some highlights include: “If you lose a limb, does it grow back?” and my personal favorite, “Ms. Kouri, do you have a job?”

Richard: I’m going to miss my students for sure, my co-workers and my partner teachers.

Charlie: I will miss the students I have grown used to seeing every day the most. The students were why I joined City Year in the first place, and they were what kept me motivated to push through the more difficult times I faced this year.

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