By Kyle Rossini
I am writing my reflection for my service-learning with Boston Scholar Athletes as I sit on the Red Line on the T, coming back from my first tutoring session, because I have so much stuff fresh in my mind that I wouldn’t want to hold off the reflection and forget it all. Through just one tutoring session that lasted two hours, I feel that I have been working at BSA my whole life. I absolutely love the environment there; in the “Zone,” which is the designated part of the school where volunteers help with Boston Scholar Athletes, the staff there are remarkably welcoming, helpful, and understanding; they know exactly how to make you feel a sense of belonging from the moment you walk in on your first day on. The Zone, which is a quaint little classroom tucked away in one of the many corners of the massive school that is the TechBoston Academy, is a perfect learning environment; flooded with shelves covered by review books and test prep guides, the walls covered with posters with information about upcoming tests and vocab words, and desks surrounded by books about the college process. Based solely on the environment, I have absolutely nothing negative to say about TechBoston’s BSA program.
One thing that I must say is that TechBoston also offers an environment that I have absolutely never experienced before, which makes this whole process a learning experience for me as well. Coming from a high school where I had 2 African-American students in a grade of almost 130, I felt like I was in another world when I first stepped into TechBoston academy, a school in which over 90% of the students are either black or Latino. I had to pass a metal detector to go into a school (which is absolutely unheard of where I come from, in Westchester, New York), and it was pretty apparent from walking down the main hallway of the school towards the Zone that I was not in my natural environment. However, while some might be intimidated by experiencing inner city education for the first time on their own, I really like the experience that my service-learning offers me, outside of what I am doing with BSA; it gives me an opportunity to grow both intellectually and culturally, as well as allowing me to go out and experience the world that I had never been able to do before in my rather sheltered community of Croton-On-Hudson.
Along with the environment, the kids that I worked with today at BSA were also fantastic. They were very self-motivated and remarkably intelligent, along with also being among some of the most friendly and accepting people I have tutored in my life (and I used to tutor a lot in High School). From the students that I specifically worked with, they were very open to everything that I had to say and retained the information that I gave them very well. They were sociable and willing to talk to me and make me feel at home from the moment my facilitator first introduced me to them, and this made my first experience volunteering so good.
In my opinion, any chance to help society and have fun at the same time is time well spent. With BSA, I feel that I will have the opportunity to do this every week, on Thursdays from 9-11, for the rest of the semester.
Kyle is a student in Kim Irmiter’s Connections & Decisions course and is serving with Boston Scholar Athletes.