By Hope Hill
I get confused with other people all the time. My sister and I; although 18 months apart, looked almost identical until she turned 13 years old and she shot up 6 inches over me. On my team I get mistaken for Miss Sarai and Miss Fevean a lot the time as we are all dark skinned women. For the first time at Linden-McKinley STEM Academy the students have a uniform. They can wear collared shirts in maroon, white or black with khaki pants. Here at City Year we have a uniform too; a red fleece vest, a collared shirt in white and khaki pants. I didn’t have my vest for a couple weeks because of a sizing issue so I just wore my shirt and pants. I noticed I was treated a little differently back then. Teachers regarded me like a student and our students regarded me like a peer.
While walking out of the building to grab something from my car I had a teacher chase after me and try to talk me into returning to the school building. He insisted that my education was important and that every moment I was not in class I was missing vital information for my future. He was so passionate I did not have the heart to tell him that I was a staff member and not a LMSA panther. We walked back into the building together and he escorted me back to the City Year room where I revealed my true identity. In the moment we laughed about it and he went on his way but that interaction stuck with me. All that teacher saw was a young person in a white shirt and khaki pants and he went out of his way to do what he thought was best for them.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have been out somewhere seen someone in a red jacket and waved to them thinking it was a member of City Year, most of the time it was not. However, there is no harm in smiling and waving to a stranger as you never know what kind of impact you will have on their way. Just like, we City Year Corps Members have no idea what kind of impact we have on the students we serve with every single day.