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We’re family here.

By Alexa Van Dyck, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow serving at Minneapolis Edison High School

Graphic that says, "We're family here."
In my office, which I share with four other counselors, I have an enormous white board above my desk. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve allowed students to write or draw whatever they want on it, as long as the images/words aren’t offensive or derogatory to any group of people. Over the year, the board has been filled up with quotes, sayings, goofy messages, amazing pieces of art, and signatures, before being photographed, erased, and filled again. At the same time, my students have all gotten to know one another, and kids that would normally never hang out come to look for one another in my office during their free time.

The day before I was set to erase the board for the fourth time this year, one of my students came into my office during lunch, looked at all of the messages, and asked if she could stand on my desk to “fix something on the board.” I gave her permission, and as I watched, she started drawing arrows to and from everyone’s name on the board until it was a large web of interconnected arrows and names and pictures. At the end, she erased a small portion in the center of the whole mess and wrote, “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind. We’re family here.”

That was one of the biggest and proudest moments of my life.

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