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Yellow bomber jacket dedication: Miss Kelly Outram

Our last day of Academy was today! We’re done with training FINALLY and tomorrow the Markham team is heading to Watts to meet our teachers and see what grade level we were placed in. Most of us will be in 6th grade, two or so corps members in 7th and our team leaders Brittney and Lauren will be in 8th grade. I think I’m aiming for 6th grade because when we had math training yesterday I could barely even figure out a 6th grade math problem (higher the grade level, harder the math). I sat there in complete frustration and felt exactly how I felt when I was a youngin’ either crying during a math test, storming out of my classroom or bitching at my dad about how I hated math so much and could never understand it. I’d honestly rather bitch with my kids about fractions, percentages and decimals, but I know I have to put my game face on and pretend it doesn’t frustrate me at all. But just for the record…. I. HATE. MATH.

One of the teachers at Markham, Ms. Webster, who is probably the funniest lady I have ever met, could not stop jumping up and down and screaming when I announced I just graduated from SC. Feelin’ that Trojan Family love at Markham! After that, she got up in front of all the teachers and corps members at teacher development day and made an analogy that no matter how hard it might be at the school some days, everyone has to work together (hence, a bruin and a trojan) and brought up another teacher who was a UCLA grad. When the going gets tough, Ms. Webster asks her for a “bruin hug” to make her feel better, which puts aside the differences of their alma mater. As much as I can’t stand UCLA, this example was great and really put into perspective the use of teamwork and leadership in a school like Markham.

Now onto the best part…

Tomorrow, we get our yellow bomber jackets (humble swag, baby) and have to dedicate them to someone or something during a ceremony. I’ve decided to 1) dedicate my jacket to all the people of Los Angeles I have interviewed for journalism (especially Eddie Gomez, a homeboy at Homeboy Industries who went to Hollenbeck MS, one of the schools City Year works at, before dropping out, which was an amazing life story to hear… As well as Joey Bravo, a student at Santa Monica High I once wrote a profile on who overcame a lot quickly: (sorry, links aren’t working).

But most importantly, I dedicate it to one of my best friends Miss Kelly Outram who has been there every step of the way and very supportive (and interested) in my post-grad service journey. Although I only went to school with her for one year at Syracuse, without her, my freshman year would have been absolute living hell. We got through it together (good riddance, Butterfield) and still stayed close. At camp last summer, our kiddies have to say “what they discovered” while their two weeks at journalism leadership camp. Well, what did I discover? That distance doesn’t separate true friendship. Kelly and I may get to see each other once or twice a year (which always ends up being in our favorite city Philthydelphia), but that doesn’t mean anything about a real friendship.

I dedicate this jacket to you, Kelly, because you are always there to listen to me, help me, make me laugh and most importantly call me out when I’m out of line. You motivated me to keep with journalism and you motivated me to get into teaching through NSLC and so on. You embody the City Year standards as well (quick to help, slow to judge, serve with an open heart and open mind). In a sense, you are almost like my mentor even though we’re the same age. You have shown me what it is to be a strong individual and I keep learning from you. I hope you, too, will learn from me when I am wearing my yellow bomber jacket.

Enough with the sappyness. On a darker note, apparently our school was on lockdown for a full day last year. And so we’ve been told that students hit teachers for gang initiations. We’ve got our work cut out for us, to say the least. I’m far from intimidated though, just excited. CITY YEAR IS ALWAYS READY.

I can’t wait to meet my teachers tomorrow! We’ll go over standards and goals we have for the year to raise those API and test scores!


Yours in service,


Here are my roommates and I, Daniel and Marissa, after the Yellow Jacket Ceremony. Team Markham Represent!

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