This year, City Year Tulsa gained another new partnership. Nathan Hale High School became the ninth school of Tulsa Public Schools to gain a City Year team to help develop students and increase an appreciation for education within the student body. When we begin partnerships, we are able to set the tone of what City Year is and begin building the beloved community with our administration, teachers, and students.
We are fortunate to be serving with amazing students who are learning alongside us in this new partnership. This is the first class to be a part of the Ranger Freshmen Academy, a concept our administration worked diligently on all summer in order to find a way to make sure our freshmen are being given the attention and the chance to build community with each other before moving into the upperclassmen space. Our students have opportunities to take culinary classes, JROTC, drama, choir, and much more, giving them an opportunity to find their identity in the RFA family.
Zayvion, a student at Nathan Hale, often comes to after-school programming and is on the basketball team. As a freshman at RFA, City Year is a strong presence in his everyday school life. When asked about the morning greetings, he remarked, " I figured you knew everyone already, because no one actually does that. But you know, after awhile it got funny. You all actually get into it- singing and dancing for real!" City Year strives to create a welcoming environment for every student, every day. For students like Zayvion, the morning greeting is an important part of breaking down the barriers between City Year members and students, opening the door to relationships that change the environment of the school. At Hale, students are encouraged to make City Year part of their daily routine. Most students have their favorite morning greeting, for Zayvion, he says he likes "...POWER because you all say each others names."
Acclimating students to the distinct City Year culture is important to the work we do. With Hale being a new partnership, it is imperative for students to engage and accept how City Year functions within their existing school culture so the work being done makes a lasting impact on the students. For Zayvion, we are helping him change his mindset when it comes to schoolwork. "Well, they encourage me to not to get frustrated and to do my work. They help me pay attention and concentrate on school instead of the distractions in my class." Students like Zayvion are learning that they can be successful in the classroom and being empowered to make decisions that will benefit their future.
We are so happy to be a part of the Nathan Hale Ranger family. We have big goals for our students at Hale and hope to make a real, lasting change in the lives of each of them. Thank you to our staff and administration for making us feel so welcomed this year. We cannot wait to update you on more of our adventures and successes with our students!