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Great story: The return

CarolineThis great story was written by Caroline Ward, an AmeriCorps member in her second year of service with College Possible Washington. Great stories like this one are written by AmeriCorps members and read weekly at team meetings as a way for our team to reflect, share learnings and stay connected to the students and coaches who have come before us and will come after us.

My second year as a high school senior coach has been such a change from the last one. A year ago, my office was my bedroom and silence prevailed. Cameras were almost always turned off and microphones infrequently unmuted. My text and email messages received sporadic responses. While students and I did manage to form friendships over our conversations, the social and emotional distance of quarantine made it feel like we might as well be on other sides of the globe rather than in the same city.

This year, on the other hand, my office is a table in the heart of my high school’s library. I get to sit beside the junior coach, and we collaborate as a College Possible team. From our vantage point, we are able to observe students settling back into the theater of teenage interactions, whispering between bookshelves and sharing earbuds of study music. I cherish the opportunity to take part in the return of life at the school.

My cohort of 30 students keeps every hour of my day full of life. There is social spontaneity where there used to be only gaps between calendar events — waves and nods across the room, quick questions and passing jokes. Students plop down in the armchairs in front of me for essay advice and chat about college lists with each other between munches of snacks at our group sessions. If I’m having trouble getting in touch with anyone, I know that my strolls down the crowded hallways between class periods will ensure that our paths cross. I’m looking forward to guiding my students through their remaining application deadlines and watching as they soak up the memories of their senior spring. While of course there is uncertainty as to their collective future, my students hold onto their hopes and dreams for their collegiate years ahead.

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