The following post is adapted from a speech delivered at YES Prep Kickoff 2016 to 1,300 YES Prep teachers and staff members.
My name is Cheryle Boyd Julien and I am a proud Houstonian from the South Side, a proud mother of three YES Prep East End Explorers and a proud teacher of 29 years. Today, Nolan is entering her junior year of college as a POSSE scholar at Bryn Mawr. And Kelsey is a high school senior, who has recently returned from Ecuador as member of the Amigos de las Americas Leadership program and of course, my baby Dylan is going into the seventh grade.
Ten years ago, I brought my oldest of three daughters, Nolan, to an old warehouse on the Northside. There, I met teachers and leaders, who were more excited about educating kids than I had ever experienced before. I knew that they believed in the promise of my child’s future. I’m going ask you to do as I did 10 years ago, to open your minds and hearts, and embrace the vision of YES Prep.
We joined the YES Prep family and immediately began to form relationships built on trust, communication and absolute faith in each other’s abilities. Of course, I believe in my daughters; they make life worth living. But I also believe in you: their teachers, leaders and each and every member of the YES Prep family. And most importantly, my daughters believe in you and want to work hard for you. One summer, my oldest daughter Nolan got wind of a Calculus Bootcamp being held at Southwest by the famous Mr. Desrosiers. She knew that if she could get into that camp, she would be more than prepared for Mrs. Blakley in the fall, and she wanted to do well for her.
It’s when Athletic Directors like Coach Urban establish programs that introduce students to athletics and produce East End’s first collegiate athlete, who had no prior athletic experience, my daughter Nolan, who now plays volleyball for Bryn Mawr.
Every student deserves educators in their lives; challenging and preparing them, in spite of limitations. When I was in 7th grade, I had a Spanish teacher, who believed that I would be fluent. I didn’t, but she did; and I even told her so. She admonished me for not sharing her confidence in my future. As a result of her never wavering from that belief, I stand before you as a bilingual teacher, firm in the knowledge that, “Ellos que saben dos lenguas valen por dos.”
Every parent sends their children to YES Prep for one reason: because YES Prep has some of the most dedicated and hardworking teachers who are committed to building relationships with their students. Teachers like Samantha Merritt, who got so excited after grading one of Kelsey’s essays, that she called me to share how well she did. YES Prep is the most important choice so many families will make. I know that it was for my family.
YES Prep is the most important choice so many families will make. I know that it was for my family.
Today is your Kickoff and I encourage you to get the most out of this day so you are ready for your students in a couple of weeks. They will be a little slow from a summer off, but I know that they will be eager for what you have for them.
From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of the thousands and thousands of mothers, fathers, grandparents, and guardians whose children you serve every day – THANK YOU. There is no work nobler or more important.