By Jenn Flemming, City Year Alumna

Graduation is the third and final major goodbye to this year of service for me. The first goodbye was a weepy week of saying goodbye to the students. Second was to the school and staff at an end of year dinner at a trendy downtown cafe. Relatively speaking, graduation falls in between in terms of formality and finality. I’m staying on for another year as a Senior AmeriCorps member, but this is the last time this year’s team will all be together. In the lead up I know that my historic inability to deal with goodbyes all but guarantees that I will cry, and I don’t disappoint over cake during the reception.

All in all, it was a fairly low key affair. This is a time for celebration, but not at the expense of our summers. It’s a nice energy actually, and one of the few times I’ve enjoyed watching the part of the ceremony where all the names are called. Our Impact Managers are the ones to call us through, and most of us gave them a hug. As always happens at these things, midway through the ceremony we had all stopped holding our applause to the end. We did good work, and this was our last chance to acknowledge that.

Particularly appreciated was the fact that this wasn’t just an AmeriCorps and their family only event. School partners and partner teachers came too, a nice reminder that our work truly is valued by people outside of our immediate organization. Even team sponsors took the time to celebrate us - proving that it’s far more than just money that they give to our endeavors.

I’m not one for receptions generally, but I appreciated it a lot in this instance. As the clock ticked down, I became ever more aware that this was really the last time I would see most of these people. I mean it’s 2018 and the internet exists, so we’ll only be as disconnected as we choose to be, but physical presence as a power of its own, as this very ceremony demonstrated.

Training for the incoming Senior AmeriCorps members has already begun, and one of the things we’ve heard most frequently is how no two corps are ever the same. Standing outside of the Manship theater, it was easy to believe that. There were several teams I barely interacted with at all, but that made them no less an integral part of the fabric of our corps as a whole. As excited as I am for whatever and whoever next year is going to bring, I’m beyond grateful that there was this last opportunity appreciate that fact.

Jenn Flemming proudly served on the Lamar Advertising team at Democracy Prep. Next year, Jenn will be serving a second year with City Year Baton Rouge has a Senior AmeriCorps member. 


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