In our most recent group session, I asked each student to do a mini presentation on a college that they found interesting. We heard about colleges from all around the states, New York to California to Louisiana to Hawaii. We heard about schools in Seattle and a school in Puerto Rico. Surprisingly, each student decided to present on a different school and we had no overlap. Listening to them talk about a school that piqued their interest was exciting and inspiring for us all to hear.
One of my students went from not knowing what a major was a couple months ago, to researching and presenting on two separate majors in the medical field.
Another student, who has been telling me how much she wants to leave home and explore new cities, presented on a school in New York City.
A third student, my Stanford-hopeful, told us how Stanford’s sociology program is ranked 5th in the world and how she wants to go there so she can pursue her dream of opening a foster care group home with her friend.
Each of these students brought their own great story that day when they revealed a little bit of themselves and their interests through the colleges they chose.
I don’t have a singular “great story.” My great stories are pieces of little tiny stories that come together to create this glowing kaleidoscope that is my cohort. These tiny stories, tiny moments, are what make my days exciting and extraordinary.
The great story is in the way my students said, “I’m so excited for this” in the Microsoft Teams chat as we waited for the first group session to start, and in the way they said “Thank you!! This was so fun” after that session ended.
The great story was the time a student asked me how my cats are after she had seen them running around in the background during one of our previous meetings. How different a student asked about them the next month.
To me, the great story is that these students, who have a million other things in their lives and 20 other zoom calls a week, decide that they want to show up and do the hard work to make their futures brighter. They decide that college is their option, theirs to make what they want of it. I am perpetually amazed at the strength and resilience of these students who are only just juniors. I am surprised, delighted, and inspired by their commitment, their ability to plan for something in the distance, their hope for their future selves.
This story was written and drafted by Rayana Weller, an AmeriCorps high school junior coach at College Possible Washington.