As an educator, Alonzo Fulton (pictured below) has been paving paths and transforming lives for 13+ years. Fulton is a 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Theodore Roosevelt K-8, but Social Studies isn’t the only thing he teaches. Fulton spends much of his time educating students on life skills and sharing his relevant and relatable experiences, growing up as an African American male in the Philadelphia community.
“African American children need a positive African American representative,” said Fulton. He believes that the youth in the communities that Roosevelt serves do not always see positive examples being set by adults. Fulton serves at Roosevelt for that very reason. “These are our sons, our daughters, our children and they all need a champion. They need someone who comes from where they come from to know where they are going.” These words are upheld through Fulton’s actions in the classroom.
Fulton’s position as an educator allows him to expose his students to something different. For example, the students were recently taken on two field trips, one to the Constitution Center and another to the play, Taming of the Shrew. The students described this experience as “different, cool, fun and new." These are the extra experiences that help students have those “ah-ha moments” or are when “the light bulb goes off,” as Fulton describes it.
When asked about having City Year in his classroom, Fulton responds, “City Year makes me a more effective teacher and my students are receiving more support that they otherwise wouldn’t have.” Fulton praises the assistance of his City Year AmeriCorps partner, describing him as an “incredible and gifted person.” He also said that City Year’s support allows him the opportunity to be flexible when he teaches.
Fulton’s care and straight talk have earned him the nickname, “Dad” at Roosevelt. Fulton says there is nothing better than when students thank him for believing and supporting them, especially when they make a trip back to Roosevelt from their high schools just to do so.
It is educators like Fulton who believe in the potential of all students that make City Year’s work in classrooms possible.
Written by City Year Philadelphia AmeriCorps Member, Desmond Harrell