by Amara Sardelli, AmeriCorps member serving on the Trustey Family team serving with Grew Elementary School
As I stood on the steps leading into Grew Elementary School, I kept thinking back to all my first days of school as a kid. On those first days I would often feel waves of excitement, anxiety, and anticipation all at once. Now, I felt those same feelings, but for different reasons. It was the first day of school at the Grew, and in a few moments, students would be walking up the steps to the school and filing into the building. When I was a young student, those feelings of excitement and anxiety were often caused by thoughts of seeing my friends and meeting my new teacher. Now, those feelings came from the pressure to make the first day as comfortable and exciting as possible for the students at the Grew. The teachers and staff at the Grew, along with my Impact Manager, Team Leader, and fellow AmeriCorps members, had all been intent on making this first day a great one. Especially because the Grew and City Year have a new partnership, the impression that students had of school on this first day was extremely important. A “red carpet” – a long trail of red poster paper – lined the ground leading up to the school for the students to walk along. As students processed along this carpet into the school, I looked to my fellow Corps members for the signal to start our cheers and songs. As we began our first cheer, I immediately looked to the students’ faces for their reactions. Confusion, bewilderment, and–thankfully–smiles covered their faces. Soon, looks of bewilderment began to slip away from many students’ faces, and become replaced with looks of happiness. After that first group of students grinned and high fived us as they walked into school, I knew this was going to be a powerful year.