This I Believe

Mary - Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
Entered on February 9, 2007

The Possible Dream and the Dreamers

This I believe….I believe in dreams and dreamers! In the fall of 2006, after a long career in academics, I decided to volunteer in a tiny, inner-city school “with a mission…to educate the whole child”…for low-income families.

It opened in September 2000, with twelve fifth and sixth grade boys. By 2006, it has added grades seven and eight and has fifty young men. Twenty have graduated. All are in high school!

Here’s the story.

Barry Hynes is a man with a dream….that a school surrounding youngsters with academics, tutoring, sports, music, and art makes a difference. He believes that challenged youngsters will want to go to good high schools…maybe college some day…and just maybe..come back to work in this city! Parents promise to be involved. The school is free.

The school building? The old YWCA…Dumpy? He got it fixed up.

Money?…He’s finding it.

A talented principal and dedicated teachers? They’ve come.

Is he practical…this first dreamer..or Don Quixote with an Impossible Dream?

I work with creative teachers from far-a-way places who initially wondered…where was New Bedford? What kind of start-up school was it? They volunteered for long school days, six days a week. What’s it like…living toigether..a tiny salary..with room and board and health insurance …(Whopee!)….encouraging kids to learn and care about tomorrows!

They’re doing, they tell me, what they always wanted to do…working with kids…surrounding them with games..field trips.. city…and love!

Do they coach..tutor..take care of the building..advise..and work in the office? they do!

Are these impossible dreamers?

The kids? Wearing shirts and ties…shaking hands with a newcomer..playing chess..sweeping classrooms..tossing a ball on a playground four car lengths summer camp with math and reading before swimming?

They talk of good high schools..and colleges..”no one in my family ever did…” Do they believe?

I talk with parents. They tell me it’s not always easy to get back and forth to school..sometimes, twice a day..the second time for evenng study..or bringing teachers’ lunches when it’s their turn..or mandatory parent meetings….or cleaning classrooms.

A good report card…a glee club concert..teams…a magazine.”.The Binnacle Lamp”…It’s worth it!

I’ve joined the volunteers who tutor, help in the library, in art and music classes, in the office…and raise money.

I believe we all have dreams…and that one special person, the original dreamer, Barry Hynes, along with the principal, teachers, students, and volunteers, who believe in Nativity Prep School, are not fighting windwmills, but achieving the Impossible Dream!