Today’s guest blogger is PS130x Corps Member, John Anchundia

Teachers, professors, coaches, and parents: you all are the real everyday heroes. You’ve made the decision to dedicate your life to my generation and your legacy is interminable. I was once one of those rowdy kids in your classes and looking back,  I wish I didn’t take your work for granted.

The amount of love, care and commitment you give to the kids is just surreal – I get to see it every day at PS130. I thank each and every one of you. When I was a kid, sitting in one of your chairs in your classroom, I never realized how hard educators had it. I just knew that educators had long summer breaks and concluded that you all had the luckiest job. Now that I’m on the other side, working alongside a teacher in a classroom, I’ve realized that your job is not easy and you all truly deserve this time off. I’m sure you wish every student you have understood this, but don’t lose faith.

Reading this you would probably think that I was a teacher’s pet back when I was in school… but that’s not exactly true. I used to be one of those students that did minimal homework, displayed poor effort, and tortured the teacher with atrocious behavior. I was just a teacher’s dream student! Even though I acted like I didn’t care about school or what the teacher had to say, I took in most of the things that were said to me – negative and positive. To this day I still remember when my 8th grade ELA teacher yelled at me out of frustration for not doing what was asked and  told me, “You’re not going to pass the 8th grade!”

Even though I’d still occasionally misbehave after that moment, what he said affected me. That teacher had unknowingly taught me to fear failure and I was already anxious waiting for that last report card to see if I was going to high school on time with all my friends.

On the positive side, it was also a teacher and mentor that led me to take the path I’ve decided to take. High School was when my love for volunteerism sparked. High school was when I was introduced to a non-profit called BuildOn, which I still volunteer for to this day, and I became addicted to helping others. It wasn’t long before one of the coordinators from the organization became my role model and helped me discover my passion for service and sports. He is the reason why I always seek out for new opportunities and go for it. He became the way that I found out about City Year. I didn’t know much about City Year when I applied but the idea of service was enough to make me accept the position I was offered. And, of course he supported me the entire way through telling me that I would love it.

He was right and he is someone I will never forget.

Some of the educators and mentors from my academic life have not only impacted my decision making,but ultimately, the path that I’ve taken. For that, I appreciate every single one of you. Thank you for #makingbetterhappen.

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