By Jarvis Nash and Takiyah Thompson
“Corps members, where are you?!” shouted emcee Danella Sealock and traffic reporter for NBC4 from the stage. Simultaneously, a sea of 156 corps members burst into the auditorium of the newly renovated Cardozo Education Campus, each one carrying a banner representing the school at which they serve, demonstrating what it truly means–and looks like–to be fired up. Suddenly, the words, “City Year, formation!” were shouted and instantly the auditorium became silent. All 156 corps members stood in formation and at attention. Before an audience of family, friends and City Year champions, it was an inspiring sight and a powerful kickoff to the Opening Day event. In the words of Austyn Sorrell, a current City Year Washington, DC corps member, ”Seeing all of our team sponsors, supporters, partners and alumni confirmed how significant our year of service will be.”
Nationwide, 2,700 corps members have pledged a year of service serving as tutors, mentors and role models in our nation’s highet-need schools. In Washington, DC 156 corps members will serve in 13 schools and reach 4,300 students every day.
Opening Day is unlike any other day in the City Year service year. Opening Day reminds corps members like Miranda Cooper of “the incredible impact that so many people, working toward one goal, can have.” Miranda explains, “I came to City Year to be a part of something greater than myself and Opening Day reminded me that I have done just that.” The event is filled not only with excitement and anticipation for the service year ahead, but also the knowledge that the work will help students stay in school and on track to graduate.
In attendance were the donors, sponsors, staff, families and friends of the corps members who share in this commitment to service. Guest speakers included Principal Dr. Tanya Roane of the Cardozo Education Campus, Chris Murphy, chief of staff to Mayor Vincent Gray, Executive Director of Serve DC Jeffrey Richardson and City Year Washington, DC alum Joseph Morales. Each speaker delivered a message that both inspiring and empowering. Corps members left the Opening Day ceremony feeling motivated to facilitate a powerful year of service in schools.