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Good Olympians Finish First

October 16, 2011

Photo by Lalita Kaewsawang, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Reed High School

By Tiffany Montano, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Sarah T. Reed High School

On Thursday, September 29, the City Year team at Sarah T. Reed High School threw an Olympian Behavior party for the 9th graders.  In order to be invited to the party, 9thgrade students were required to make it an entire week without skipping class, being asked to leave class, or to have been given any referrals to other school faculty for behavioral issues.

This may seem like an easy feat, but the children of New Orleans endure obstacles that many public school students couldn’t dream of.  When a student skips class, they may be running to a sibling’s aid whose day-caretaker suddenly fell through.  When a student gets thrown out of class for sleeping, it may be because they didn’t have a place to sleep the night before.  And when a student receives a referral to a dean for yelling at a teacher, they may be easily agitated by physical touch for reasons that I would rather not write about.

Whether a student suffers these particular adversities or not, the school climate affects them and a week of perfect behavior is perhaps the best reason to celebrate.  After all, by staying in class and behaving well, students are most poised to learn and grow intellectually, personally, and socially.

Unfortunately, some hiccups occurred.  Due to a shaky system of data collection, a handful of students were invited to the party who had not achieved the goal; meanwhile, a few other students were not invited who should have been (e.g. by an absence not being marked as excused when it should have been).  We are working with the school to correct these problems in the future.

Still, the party was a tremendous success!  We added an addendum to the list of students who were allowed past the bouncer at the gym door (Jay Robertson, our Program Manager).  Those students who were accidentally invited were allowed to stay and testify to their friends how awesome the party was.  Meanwhile, students of all ages and behavior levels lined up outside the door begging to be let in.  Jay mentioned that, “Students have offered money in the past to be let into behavior parties.”  We look forward to raising students’ eagerness to be invited as the year goes on and word of mouth runs amuck.

Photo by Lalita Kaewsawang, Corps Member Proudly Serving at Reed High School

The party consisted of music, balloons, popcorn and juice, an Olympian identity guessing game, hula hooping, and most importantly, to many of the boys: basketball.  The party occurred for an hour during second period in which most of the boys did not stop playing basketball.  In fact, the minute students were accepted into the gym for the party, miraculously, two basketball games were already fully organized and in full swing.

Overall, the event was the talk of the school for the students and a great opportunity for City Year to implement its strengths and learn new strategies for events in the future.   I look forward to reporting on our next one!


One Comment leave one →
  1. October 20, 2011 10:48 pm

    It was a successful event! The students were smiling and calm after that.

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