City Year members & Denny staff cheer on students at the rallyMy name is Cristian King, and I proudly serve as an AmeriCorps member at Denny International Middle School with City Year Seattle/King County.

Earlier this month, we at Denny had the pleasure of putting on the year’s first pep rally! The pep rally was a massive whole-school event: there were over 900 students present along with dozens of staff members and, of course, City Year!






Students faces are covered in whip cream in order to catch Hot Cheetos for a ridiculously funny game

An hour before the pep rally began, City Year AmeriCorps members helped set up the gym to accommodate the pep rally. Pennants were posted. Dolphin tokens that would determine who were to play the games were hidden. Speakers and the microphone were set up for the student MC. We were prepared for the students.

Or so we thought.       



I can’t quite describe to you the intensity of 900 middle school students cheering and screaming sounds like, but I can tell you that it’s one of the most wonderfully loud noises you could ever experience.  As students competed in grade level teams for ultimate glory, we lost our voices cheering for the students we have the immense privilege of working with. As the entire student body made The Wave, we got to be the bridge between two grades so it could continue. As the rally ended and students left, we got to see a sea of endless smiles.

Which brings this post back to Putting Idealism to Work (PITW): the pure joy of this space was incredible. The work we do at City Year is hard and events like this remind us of the pure joy we have working with students. And to be trusted enough by Denny to organize and help facilitate one of their biggest events of the year feels amazing.

I know I speak for every AmeriCorps member at Denny when I say the pep rally will be remembered as one of the highlights of our collective service year.

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