On April 10, Mary Mcleod Bethune Elementary served as the competition ground for City Year Philly’s annual Site Wide Math & Literacy event. This year’s theme was City Year and the Chocolate Factory. More than 150 students, from all 19 schools currently being served by City Year Philly, competed in math and literacy games in hopes of receiving an array of prizes from Willie Wonka himself. As the students competed and enjoyed snacks like pizza and crab fries from Philly favorites Chickie's & Pete’s and City View, the gathering served as a time for students to move beyond the walls of their schools for a fun time with fellow learners from across the city.
Says Omosi Anabui, City Year Philly Impact Manager at William McKinley School, “The Site Wide Math & Literacy event is important because it builds comradery in the school community. It allows students to come into a space to support and have fun academically with other kids that they may not interact with daily. The event serves not only as a competition, but an opportunity for students to meet new people their age. I enjoy this time of year because it’s always cool to see our students get excited to part take in math and literacy related challenges.”
While the annual Site Wide Math & Literacy event is a City Year initiative, it is organized and driven by current AmeriCorps members. Tametra Thomas, a second year AmeriCorps member proudly serving at Frankford High School says, “Being a part of the planning team for the Site Wide Event was pure magic. Everything came together perfectly and just watching students and corps members engage themselves into the event was even better.”
Common themes in the air from students during the event were that one, they loved City Year, two math and/or reading were their favorite subjects, three they enjoyed meeting other students, and four they could hardly wait to get their hands on some delicious chocolate. Whether this event was intended to serve solely as a competition geared towards math and literacy, it can be said that it also served as the perfect team builder. Each year, the event allows students to not only compete, but to develop a sense of teamwork which goes a long way.
Coming together each year to rally around math and literacy also serves as a testament to City Year Philly’s broad presence throughout Philadelphia. “I don’t think a lot of our students realize the presence that City Year has in the city. They see us in their schools and that’s it,” says Impact Manger Andy Jones. “This event is an opportunity for all the students that we serve to come into one place and see the power that is in teamwork while also realizing the presence that City Year has.”
To this end, Aliya Bradley, the principal at Mary Mcleod Bethune Elementary couldn’t help but rave about City Year and the Chocolate Factory being hosted at her school. “We are so excited that City Year has selected Mary Mcleod Bethune to the be the host site for this chocolate factory themed event,” Ms. Bradley said. “As the students are learning about math and literacy and working together with such a diverse group of learners, we are honored.”