This is one of the many power greetings our students hear as they enter the school every morning. As a Second Year AmeriCorps Member, it has become apparent that our Power Greetings have become an essential part of our school’s culture. As it happens every year, our team took our morning greetings and made them their own. Forget “Manic Mondays.” Our school team has Music Mondays! You’ll find us singing and dancing student-requested songs. Wednesdays are unique, too. To promote literacy at our school, we read our favorite books and students are encouraged to join and grab a book from the Read Box that they can also choose to keep. At first sight, Power Greeting was a part of City Year culture that seemed weird and silly. Well into our second year, we recognize that even though these parts of City Year culture seem awkward, they’re important and meaningful. This is clearly seen when students join us or high five us as we greet them. 

JO: At this time of the year, it is very easy to slip into a funk and things like attendance seem to plummet. A way that we are trying to prevent this is by hosting our first AttenDANCE of the year where the only way to gain admission is to have perfect attendance from January 12th- February 13th. I am extremely excited to see the outcome of the event because it was an event that I spearheaded last year. As STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) time approaches, we are also supporting our students through an event called STAARy Night that we are bringing back from last year. I’m interested in seeing how our team will come together to support our school with initiatives like the ones mentioned. 

CN: If two years ago I would have been told that I would have moved to a new city, started a different part of life and even participated as a speaker at more than one event, I might have thrown up. I welcomed new ideas, but that might have sounded too far from my comfort zone. Now I can’t imagine today differently. I’m happy for the opportunities we’ve had, which have recently included attending a luncheon welcoming over 400 powerful leaders to learn more about our service. It’s been wonderful to see last year’s initiatives welcomed and requested for this year. It’s been even nicer to see our students in their process of growth.

The days are far from over. With less than 130 days until graduation, it all sinks in.

I guess we somewhat knew what we were getting ourselves into when we applied to serve last year. We never knew what it would amount to, though. We never imagined it would mean 2 years of compromise, sacrifices, patience, growth, and love. 

Tutoring. Attendance coaching. Meetings. Initiatives. Diplomas Now meetings. Grade team meetings. Field Trips. E-mails. Lots of e-mails. Leadership After City Year (LACY). Second Year AmeriCorps Member Capstone. Life outside of City Year. Afterschool Heroes. It goes on... And that’s a beautiful thing.  

Written By: Judith Ozuna and Ciria Nieto 
Diplomas Now Second Year City Year AmeriCorps Members
Rhodes Middle School


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