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A letter of hope to my students

City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member, Robert

To my precious, wild, fun-loving fifth graders,

You all have taught me many life lessons from being your City Year. The number one lesson that I promise to always remember is to never take myself, or life, too seriously. Even in the thick of an important lesson, you all kept me on my toes. Throughout the year, you always found ways to make me smile and giggle. You reminded me of the ‘bigger picture’ in life and what it means to be someone’s City Year.

Y’all have taught me that the passion for learning is still alive. No matter the lesson or project introduced in class, you fifth graders would embrace it, soak it in and make me feel like I had prepared the most engaging lesson in the world. Thank you for making my words feel so important.

Even though our time together was cut short this year, I want you to remember some important lessons.

  1. Walk your own path. People like to judge other people. This peer pressure can make you stray from the path you started to carve for your future. Don’t mind other people’s aspirations, don’t ever let someone else’s goals and dreams influence your vision of life. It’s your path and you decide where it takes you and how long it takes you to see it through.
  2. Never fail to try more. Even when you’re feeling most prepared, there is a chance we fail in accomplishing our goals. An athlete could lead the entire race only to fall just in front of the finish line and lose. This doesn’t mean the athlete should stop competing; on the contrary, they should work even harder for the next competition. The results will come, eventually.
  3. Always remember that good things don’t come easy. If you want to have a good life with a successful career, emotional satisfaction and trustworthy friends, you have to work hard. Luck can take you only so far, and the rest is entirely up to you. The amount of effort you put in every day and the ability to learn from your mistakes will take you far. Don’t think for a moment that someone else is going to fight your battles with the same vigor and devotion as you would.

Next year, when you go on to sixth grade, I hope that you remember some of the things we worked on this year like the butterfly method and all of the great reading stations that we all had fun at and all the laughs we shared. Always remember that you are wonderful.

I never thought that so many loving students would care about me. Ever. I’m still watery eyed, thinking of how much each one of you means to me. This is not a “bye Mr. Robert,” it’s a “see you later Mr. Robert.” I wish each and every one of y’all the best and I love you.

About the author: Robert Eison proudly serves as a City Year Milwaukee AmeriCorps member and is a proud alum of Milwaukee High School of the Arts. When asked why he serves, Robert said, “I serve to give my students a support system. Why? There may be a student in need of somebody to talk to about their problems. I’m that person.”

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