Written by Laureanna Crump, Second Year AmeriCorps member proudly serving on the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington team at Kenilworth Science and Technology School.
Attallah Flucas and I met during the 2016-17 AmeriCorps year when we decided to become roommates. She’s originally from Valdosta, Georgia and attended Savannah State University, where she obtained a degree in Political Science. Ms. Flucas loved to read and critique anything she could get her hands on whether it be movies, television shows, or new music. I use the term “critique” lightly because, unlike myself, she’s always willing to give new works of art a chance. If I had to describe Ms. Flucas using only three words, I’d say she is compassionate, strong-willed, and family oriented.
Ms. Flucas’ personal habits were reflected in her professional side, as well. What some may perceive as stubbornness, I view as dedication. She loved her students, and she was determined to advocate for them whenever possible. When asked to describe her AmeriCorps year in one to two sentences, Ms. Flucas answered,
“CYBR taught me a lot about myself. The program instilled a lot of confidence in me to pursue my dreams of becoming a teacher.”
Ms. Flucas was placed in a 6th grade ELA classroom at Democracy Prep for her AmeriCorps year. She knew she wanted to teach, and being placed at a site as rigorous as Democracy Prep would determine whether or not teaching was a suitable career choice for her. During her time at Democracy Prep, Ms. Flucas faced many challenges, one being The Great Flood of Baton Rouge. In August 2016, Baton Rouge, along with several other southern parishes, experienced prolonged rainfalls that led to catastrophic flooding. Democracy Prep was one of the schools affected, and as a result, classes were held in tents at the local YMCA. For weeks, Ms. Flucas and her team assisted in making sure students had some remnants of a normal school day. My school day normally ended around 4 pm, but during those first few months of service, Ms. Flucas wouldn’t make it home until 6 or 7 pm. Her team was responsible for setting up the make-shift classrooms in the morning and breaking them down at the end of the school day. Ms. Flucas’ impact didn’t stop there. She and her team helped the school’s transition back onto their campus. Not only did she remain dedicated to her focus list students but she also had her advisory, Flucas’ Flawless Flowers. Flucas’ Flawless Flowers was a group of 6th grade girls that she felt she needed to help focus on self-love, self-confidence, and overall female empowerment.
"By the end of our AmeriCorps year, Ms. Flucas had already accepted a position at Democracy Prep to teach full time. Democracy Prep is one of our partner schools. Therefore, I knew it was a chance that one day she could have her own AmeriCorps member. She had a great relationship with her partner teacher, so I didn’t think that she would be apprehensive about having an AmeriCorps member in her own classroom. I believed that City Year would be the perfect organization to help navigate the uncertainties of being a first-year teacher. The summer months flew by, and before we both knew it, the 2017-18 school year had begun. At this point, she’d gotten a little more comfortable at the school, being that she’d taught summer school and she’d met the new City Year team at D. Prep. At one point, I asked her about having an AmeriCorps member in her own class. She revealed, “I think they’re trying to give me one because one of the girls keep coming to my classroom."
Ms. Flucas did get assigned an AmeriCorps member, Eliana Sutton, and over the past five months of working closely with her very own AmeriCorps member, Ms. Flucas has nothing but good things to say about her. Ms. Flucas raved,
“The experience that I share with my City Year, Ms. Sutton, was not at all how I expected it to be. Being that this was my first full year teaching in a classroom, on my own, I did not want anyone to support me in my room because I did not want anyone to judge me on the million mistakes that I am bound to make during my first year. I can honestly say that now I absolutely love Ms. Sutton in my class! She is such a great help and helps me along the way in many ways that I'm sure she does not even know about! The kids love and value her just as much as I do, and when she is gone, we truly see the effects of it throughout the 6th grade. I am happy that I finally looked past having a City Year in my room and embraced it because, after all, this is where I got my start, and I am happy that I can share the experience that I had my AmeriCorps year with my City Year, Ms. Sutton.”
In the words of Ms. Flucas, herself, and PITW #127 *BING!*, embrace change! It keeps you moving forward; and whether you’re a past City Year AmeriCorps member or a current one, City Year will always be a vehicle for change in your endeavors.