by Janae Babineaux, AmeriCorps Member on the Albemarle Foundation team at Merrydale Elementary School

1. “My favorite thing about Merrydale is the people; the teachers that fill the classrooms, the administration, the custodial staff, the cafeteria staff, my City Year team, and most importantly, the students. My students inspire me each and every day. They have taught me to be the best version of myself and to persevere. Because of them, my days are filled with learning and laughter.”

-Janae Babineaux, Corps Member 

2. “I love how we each bring uniqueness and character to the Merrydale team! I know I’m guaranteed to have a good laugh when I spend time with them. Basically, we’re one big happy family!”

-Kimberly Ratte, Corps Member

3. “My favorite thing about Merrydale is how everyone is always making me laugh. Our team just has a genuinely good sense of humor.”

-Zach Smith, Corps Member

4. “One of my favorite things about Merrydale is our special events! Last semester we celebrated Spooky Science Night, Fall Into Fun, Literacy Night, 100 Day Celebration and even got a visit from Santa!”

-Kimberly Ratte, Corps Member

5. “Morning greeting! Starting your day with lots of hugs, high-fives, and laughter is one of the greatest perks of this job!”

-Merrydale team

6. “One of my favorite things about Merrydale is our Girls on the Run team. This year Ms. Kim and I had the opportunity to coach an amazing group of girls. Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit that has created a 12-week training program that integrates being active with supporting young girls on an emotional level. The after-school program allows us to build relationships with our students and create a positive-safe environment." 

-Janae Babineaux, Corps Member

7. “I love having a hand in nurturing and harvesting of the next generation ripe with promise. It’s not all about core skills, though important; it’s also about building life skills and strong individuals. That’s why I started the chess club. It teaches strategy and critical thinking skills that can be applied to all facets of life.”

-Tavidee Hoskins, Corps Member

8. “What I love about Merrydale are the people who work in the front office. Ms. Legarde has welcomed the Merrydale team since day 1, Ms. Lumar who always has our back, Ms. Boudreaux-Allen who brings passion as the first-year principal at Merrydale, and Ms. Jarvis who knows every student in the school and loves (almost) all of them.”

-Tyler Wands, Team Leader

9. “Our incredible students. Here at Merrydale, our students inspire us and motivate us each and every day. We walk alongside them on the journey to success so that we may guide them, support them, and celebrate their victories!”

-Kimberly Peterson, Corps Member

10. “Our Teaching Garden allows for students to have a hand in watching plants grow. Thanks to our Team Sponsor the Albemarle Foundation, the American Heart Association and the Lemoine Company, the garden is a place where we can take our students to study content across the curriculum.”

-Janae Babineaux, Corps Member

11. “My partner teacher Mrs. Bray-Range is an amazing 4th grade Science and Social Studies teacher who engages and sets high expectations for her students. She also is extremely kind, funny, and a pleasure to work with.”

-Amber Curry, Corps Member

12. “I love World Culture’s Club because it allows Zach and I to open up the world a little bit for our students. They learn about places far from them, cultures they otherwise might not know about, and traditions that they didn’t know they loved.”

-Cassidy Bowers, Corps Member

13. “Everyone has a different opinion on what happiness is and how one may pursue it and then hopefully finally achieve it. However, I bet that most people would agree that getting into a job or career that you enjoy is a crucial stepping-stone to being happy. I am one of the fortunate people that love their job. I love my job because of the people I get to work with everyday. Work is more than simply work to me because the City Year team and staff at Merrydale fill my days and thus my life with challenges, dedication, purpose, laughter and all the good things in-between. Everyone has an opinion of what happiness is and in my opinion, I found it.”

-Jonathon Morris, Impact Manager

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