Building a Family at the Irving Middle School

Written by Gabriel Solis, City Year AmeriCorps member serving on the Deloitte Team at the Washington Irving Middle School.

As a corps member serving at a first-year partnership on the Deloitte Team at the Washington Irving Middle School in Roslindale, MA, I have experienced a vast array of ups and downs. However, as I reflect on my corps year thus far with just a few months left to go, I have chosen to view these downs as necessary stepping stones on a path toward magnifying the many ups I have experienced lately. In all, it is these polarized experiences that have allowed me to take the utmost pride in the school I serve and in the students I get to tutor and mentor alongside a group of devoted and inspiring corps members.

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From a team perspective, our Extended Day Program has been a struggle, especially in the beginning of the year. However, through persistence and dedication, we have been blessed to see the fruits of the hard work we have put in. We are connecting with our students in special ways which have allowed us to create a deep bond within our small group. Not only have we witnessed the students open up to us, but we as corps members have opened up even more in an act of reciprocal devotion toward one another.

This display of devotion was seen just a few weeks ago at a Boston Celtics game. Some of our students from the Extended Day Program earned an opportunity to attend a Celtics game as part of the Step Your Game Up Challenge, a program that rewards student excellence in academics and attendance. At the game, I would look over to my students every few minutes. Each time I looked over, my heart jumped with joy at the sight of their smiles. They were so happy to be there.

Afterward, they were beaming. For most of them, it was their very first Celtics game. As we walked to catch the train back home, and my fellow corps members walked side by side with a few of our students, I began to understand just how close we have all become. I realized I was part of something special.

“We have learned just as much from our students as they have learned from us.”

As I watched my teammates interact with our students, their smiles and incessant laughter told the story. These relationships have given birth to inspiration, and at the Irving Middle School, we have this in abundance.

In our Extended Day Program, each individual is inspired to be themselves, grow, and never be afraid to reach their fullest potential. I feel blessed to serve at the Irving Middle School, even through the more difficult times, because I know it will make memories like the Celtics game stick with me for the rest of my life. In Extended Day, we are a family. We have become a group of brothers and sisters; a special group of individuals with much to learn from one another.

3 thoughts on “Building a Family at the Irving Middle School

  1. Great post AND slideshow, Gabe. I have been so impressed with the relationships you have all built with the students in our Extended Day Program. Let’s finish the year strong!

  2. Is this a partnership with Citizen Schools and City Year? Or is the Extended Day Program different?

  3. This is part of City Year. Each school has an Extended Day Program that runs for about 2-3 hours. During Extended Day students receive homework help, learn a variety of lesson that we as Corps Members prepare, and we build a ton of deep relationships. This is my favorite part of the day because you get to see the students from a different light and get to interact with them on a more personal level.

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