Originally from Albuquerque and a graduate of the University of New Mexico, Jonath Ochsankehl is a City Year Seattle/King County corps member serving at Dearborn Park Elementary School. In the post below, Jonath reflects on his first month of service in Seattle and the 2011 Opening Day ceremony.
I stood inside Town Hall that wet, Seattle morning and proudly took the pledge to serve to the best of my ability. While I may not yet know the impact I will have on the children I currently work with, corps member, Jessie Curry inspired all of our service during her address to the corps.
When Jessie Curry was handed the hammer of service from a member of last year’s corps, she spoke to us about how many of her students at Wing Luke Elementary ask about members of last year’s corps and reminded us that next year we will be “those corps members who made such an impact on the students we serve that we are remembered even over an entire summer and beyond.” While it saddens me to be reminded of my departure from this program so near the start of my service, it also inspires me on those difficult days when I question my abilities as a mentor due to unfocused and challenging students.
Opening Day reminded me not only of the difference we as a corps will be making in the lives of numerous children, but also of the support we have from the Seattle community. City Year supporters attending Opening Day included National Leadership Sponsors like Comcast and local Seattle sponsors including JP Morgan Chase, NELA, and Macy’s as well as Seattle City Councilmember, Tim Burgess, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Susan Enfield, Dearborn Park Elementary Principal, Angela Bogan, and local and National City Year Board Members. That morning amidst City Year champions I felt connected to our own brother and sister City Year sites across the world united in a common goal as stated in the City Year pledge:
To serve as a city year member to the very best of my ability,
To honor the rules and expectations of City Year,
To respect my colleagues and the people and communities we serve,
To provide excellent service,
To lead by example and be a role model to children,
To celebrate the diversity of people, ideas and cultures around me,
To serve with an open heart and an open mind,
To be quick to help and slow to judge,
To do my best to make a difference in the lives of others
And to build a stronger community, nation and world for all of us.
Text by Jonath Ochsankehl, City Year Seattle/King County corps member