The Proverbial Godfather to My Students

Jose VilsonEducation, Jose

Yankee Stadium Gang

Yankee Stadium Gang

This morning, I had a strange choice to make. Ever since the Yankees made the playoffs, I made a quasi-promise to myself that, should the New York Yankees win the championship, I’d take my students to the parade. While not educationally sound, I’ve been building that bridge from Inwood to South Bronx for my students since their 6th grade year. For their big class trip in 6th grade, I took them to the old Yankee Stadium a few months removed from when the owners closers its doors. For their 7th grade year, I took them to the new Yankee Stadium as well. Thus, it would have been fitting for me to bring them to their first Yankee parade.

My real reason for bringing them to the stadiums has less to do with my fervor for the Yankees; Citi Field would have done fine (Shea? Not so much.) It’s knowing that I continue to give them an experience that they may not otherwise get as children, exposing them to things within their area that otherwise people deny them. For instance, as my then 6th grade students and I rode the D train to 161st and River Ave., my students admitted to me that they’d never been to Yankee Stadium. They may never have known what the big deal was about unless I personally took them, at a cost that was well within their price range (free).

What’s more, I knew they’d at least get the feeling that, for at least a moment, the whole world was theirs. So this morning, almost completely out of my mind since I’d slept about 4 hours, I had to make a critical decision: do the kids go or do they not? Then I realized at a ticker tape parade of this magnitude, they’d feel more cramped and antsy than open and free. Plus, the risks associated with thousands of eccentric New Yorkers cheering on 25 baseball guys make me a little nervous.

Best believe that, before the year is done, I’ll have something that’ll complete their career at my middle school. Even if they don’t remember me, they’ll at least remember the time when, for a second, they walked in the steps of world championships …

Mr. V, who loves the vibe of NYC right about now …