Monday, February 7, 2011

Meet The Winston Education Campus Team

  By Lindsay Gray, corps member serving on the CSX Team at Turner Elementary School

I have noticed and admired the close-knit vibe of The Whole School Whole Child team serving at Winston Education campus for a while, so I was excited to have the opportunity to sit down with them in between our Friday schedule. The first thing I asked them was to give me a few words to describe their team, and three people instantly responded family.” Other words included fun, honest, crazy, loving, real, and entertaining. The funny thing was, I could SEE all these adjectives in the way the team interacted with each other. They joked, laughed, and finished each other’s sentences.

The team has come a long way since August. When asked about their first impressions of each other, Tyrone, Tiffany, and Ryan all said, “I didn’t know these people!” Other teammates expressed that they had doubts about how the team would get along. Needless to say, they need not have worried. The sentiment now is unanimous—“I love my team!”

I asked the group about their favorite Winston memories, and the response was completely devoid of complete sentences. Instead, the team listed inside jokes that brought smiles to all of their faces. “Watch the chicken!” “Ryan and the bee,” and the apparent favorite, “35 bucks!” were all phrases that meant nothing to me, but were obviously things that the group experienced and remembered fondly.

Neils, the program manager at Winston, offered more insight on the group. He describe them as “dedicated, inspiring, and hilarious.” His first thought upon seeing the team was “It’s gonna be a long road. We have a long way to go.” Thoughts now? “I’m blessed to be their PM.” He attributes their success to open communication and solidarity; he says that each member knows they are all dedicated and passionate about their work.” One of his many memories was back to school night at Winston, when the team was officially introduced to the students and parents. He recalls the standing ovation the team received that left him teary-eyed…in three words, “It was awesome.”

Before they leave City Year, Neils wants the team to know “They truly won’t know the difference they made until they come back and see the footprints they left in the sand, the cathedrals they built, and the sand that has turned into diamonds as a result of their work.”-- Then I’M the one who was teary-eyed.

The team stated that love and honesty are key parts of their success. They also cite their team leader, Terrell (or T-money as Ryan called him), as a reason for their closeness. They gave me some words of wisdom for future CY teams. “Keep it real!” “Have humble ‘swag’" Maureen said (“that’s our team motto,” interjected Ryan). “You’re a family”  said Andrea, and they all agreed. Family is obviously very important to their team, and not just in words. They truly embody what it means to be a team.

This team is not only making a difference in the lives of their students; they are changing each other’s lives as well.


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