Written by Kevin Fish, corps member serving on the Bain & Company Team at English High School
There were numerous times after completing high school that I would hear the Avenue Q song I Wish I Could Go Back to High School and find myself knee-deep in nostalgia, remembering the early mornings, lunch with friends, student government and homecoming dances. If you asked me in college whether I would walk the halls of high school again, I would have chuckled and simply said, “No.” But I was wrong.
Now, for all of you Adam Sandler fans, I am not referring to some Billy Madison-esque second chance at completing my secondary education, but the opportunity to serve through City Year in Boston as part of their second high school partnership.
Green Street T Stop
I start my mornings heading out the door towards the Green Street stop on the Orange Line near English High School. There, I am greeted by my team, sponsored by Bain & Company, of 10 City Year corps members, my team leader, and my program manager for our first team circle, a team meeting to discuss what the day has in store. Following our team circle, we head to the front of the building to begin our morning greeting. Here, along with my team, we cheer on our students as they enter the building. Some of the students that I work with specifically have actually started to join in on the cheers and the greetings, really making me feel like the school is embracing City Year. Some of English High‘s administrators and staff also join in and clap along as they enter the building. One of my favorite chants is, “Smile to Pass,” where we encourage students to smile before they enter the building.
English High School
After the homeroom bell rings, my day really begins. At English High, corps members serving in the 9th and 10th grades travel with a cohort of students. I serve alongside my fellow corps member and partner, Terry, and we spend the day going to five different classes with 25 freshmen boys. We start off in English class, where we discuss Of Mice and Men, or whatever our current piece of literature is, and then move on to some one-on-one tutoring in Algebra, where our students have been learning how to solve equations. Lunch time is one of my favorite parts of the day – not because I get to replenish my depleted energy supply while sporting the coolest lunch box I could find – but because I have the opportunity to eat lunch with my students and get to know them on a much more personal level. The conversations at lunch tend to be much more candid than those that take place in the classroom, and I really feel like I connect with students during this time. After lunch, I attend an Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class, which prepares a select group of students for college through the use of a more interactive classroom structure. I really enjoy the discussions and debates that arise in this class because I get to see my students’ academic personalities. Terry and I finish the school day with Physics and then U.S. History.
The final segment of my day is a homework-drop in space for students after school. Here, I get to help different students with their homework, organize binders and provide them with any sort of help they may need. It is always a fun and high-energy space, where productivity is our number one goal.
Now that the Bain & Company Team has been at the English High School for two months, I really feel that City Year is becoming a norm for students and the administration. I can already see our team becoming a part of the English family, and look forward to all that my service year has to offer.