By Alexis DiSanza
Throughout our service, it’s important to recognize that the work that people do outside of our schools contributes to the growth of our students. At Plummer Elementary School, that’s easy to do. Our corps members have the privilege of chaperoning twenty fourth and fifth grade aftercare students every week on a field trip to a local law firm. At the law firm, students have the opportunity to get homework help from lawyers, and get to ask them questions about college, jobs or anything else that they are curious about. These enrichment field trips provide our students with increased access to a world they might not get to see that often, and it provides the law firm with a chance to make a difference.
Our students really enjoy the law firm field trips. We asked several of them to tell us what they liked about it. “Devon” told us that he liked getting out of the school for a while each week. In fact, it was a consistent theme among the fourth and fifth graders that having the opportunity to get on a bus and go somewhere new helped break the tedium of being in the same place every day. Another student “Anjie” said “It’s fun to have new people help us with our homework!” Another fifth grader echoed this sentiment when he said “It’s good because my homework always gets done and I get to talk to new people, too.”
Chaperoning these field trips has been a wonderful opportunity for my team to see others interact with our students, and observe the difference that our partnership with this local law firm can make. The students genuinely look forward to interacting with new people. The teachers, staff and City Year corps members at Plummer encourage our students every day to do their best and push themselves to do better, but our students don’t often get excited about doing their homework so seeing them enthusiastic about going to the law firm is amazing.
One of the best benefits of the field trips is seeing the students interact with people outside of their community. Many of our students don’t leave their neighborhood that often, and our team has definitely noticed that they have a different perspective from visiting the law firm. Many fifth graders have expressed an interest in going to the same colleges that the lawyers have gone to. Interacting with professional people who have different experiences to share gives our students a chance to discover new things and expand their horizons.
Alexis DiSanza, author, is a corps member on the Comcast | NBC4 Team at Plummer Elementary School.