By Shay Barchue
Shay Barchue is a 2012-2013 corps member serving on the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care team at the Holland Elementary School in Dorchester.
My favorite part of the day is our Starfish extended day program. I find myself amazed at the depth of the students’ questions and comments. At times it even feels like I am talking to my peers. After reflecting on the conversations, I chuckle and think to myself “I can’t believe I was just talking to 10-year-old student.”
One of my favorite conversations was with a fourth grader. Derek* loves to talk to me about basketball. As a true Bostonian, his favorite NBA team is the Boston Celtics, and he really looks up to Rajon Rondo. I am extremely impressed by how knowledgeable Derek is about the history of basketball. Every time we talk about the sport, I feel like I am talking to an analyst. I can appreciate his views and opinions because it shows me how passionate he is about the subject. Furthermore, it has been the foundation to help build our relationship.
One day he came up to me in after school and said, “Ms. Shay, I heard you played a sport in college. Can you tell what I need to do to be able to play basketball in college when I get older?” I was excited because this question shows he is dedicated and planning his future. The joy of being able to connect with a student, and pass on knowledge about my experience as a college athlete reassures me that I planted a seed of motivation.
I used this opportunity to talk to Derek about the importance of coming to school every day, and the impact that and education and good grades will have on his college athletic career. As the year continues to progress, I watch Derek become more attentive to his homework in our afterschool program. I think it is safe to say that Derek has the drive to achieve his dreams.