Cassy Derochemont, AmeriCorps Member '16-'17, City Year Sacramento, Oak Park Preparatory Academy

During my senior year of college I realized I wasn’t ready to commit to a teaching program and I desperately wanted to get out of New Hampshire, so I spontaneously decided to apply to City Year’s west coast region. After being accepted, I learned I was placed in Sacramento, California, a place I knew little about. I was thrilled. On the first day of August I walked into Basic Training Academy, unsure of how I felt about being three thousand miles away from my home, and very unsure of what I was about to get myself into. It was during those first few days, when a fire was lit inside me. My eyes were simultaneously opened to the reality of inequities in education, as well as the extreme privilege I had always taken for granted. For the first time in my life I felt a passion for education. This has driven me to build strong relationships with my students, seeking to understand their own stories and what drives them in life. Every day I show up to service, unsure of what to expect from my students, but knowing they each have their own light, we just have to figure out how to get it to shine brightest. 

In addition to being able to serve my students, City Year has provided me with leadership training and development at a higher level than anything I had previously encountered. There are teams of individuals not only willing and ready, but also extremely energized to help me impact students. Being a member on this team has provided me with knowledge and leadership skills I did not even realize I was missing, as well as definable actions steps to improve my performance. As a member of a City Year team I feel my skills as a young professional have dramatically increased, leaving me better equipped for my next career path. 

The opportunity to be in the classroom, while simultaneously giving back to such a vibrant community, was the perfect trial run for teaching. I realized I do not want to be a teacher, but I discovered the realm of speech pathology, a profession I had never considered before. City Year has given me the opportunity to explore areas of education I am passionate about, while still serving my students and growing as an individual. 

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