It has always been amazing to me the magic that is created when motivated people congregate. So, with 335 college advisers in one room, you can imagine the magic that started flying. From October 1 through 3, our corps traveled to Washington, DC for the National College Advising Corps’ Innovation Summit. After three days packed with speakers, sharing best practices, and visiting state representatives at the US Capital, I was reminded why I have the best job in the world.
Prior to this national training, I was a little discouraged, and was quickly reaching my burnt-out point. However, being surrounded by people passionate about social justice at the Innovation Summit re-lit that fire in me: the passion that every single student in my school deserves a chance at post-secondary education. This was reinforced by our fearless leader, Dr. Nicole Hurd who is always there to remind us the difference we are making in our schools, and how we carry our jobs with grace and humility in the forefront of our actions.
Throughout our speaker sessions I kept stopping myself to reflect: These people are really here to talk to us?! Just to name drop a few presenters, we heard from Ms. Zakiya Smith, White House Senior Adviser for Education, Mr. Peter Grauer, Bloomberg LP and Chair, Mr. Bill Basl, the Director of AmeriCorps, and Mr. Rob Wellington from Zinch.com; all reminding us what important work we do. I believe the corps-wide favorite was hearing from John Wood, founder of the nonprofit Room to Read; a groundbreaking program that shares our values of education. Mr. Wood had an incredible ability to motivate us for this work of public service. He reminded us that although some days are seemingly impossible, we should always be bold and stay focused; our country’s future depends on it.
The bond we have as a Carolina Corps is pretty incredible. The connection we formed with the National Corps was just as strong. What I carry with me most from this Innovation Summit is the encouragement that we as a National Corps are changing the face of post-secondary education in America. Through sharing (read: stealing) best practices, making friends across state borders, and listening to success stories, I am reminded that magic is being surrounded by my 334 colleagues. That with an incredible team behind us, we will stop at nothing to get our students into college. After all, we do have the best job in the world.