By Erin Sikora
I’ve realized over the years that there are two types of people, the ones that love public speaking and the ones that feel sick to their stomach at the thought of it. I have always felt that speaking in front of a crowd came somewhat natural to me so when TCP recently gave me the opportunity to complete my first assembly on my own I was ecstatic. I have been able to go and watch as our Program Managers completed kick-off assemblies at different high schools, but now it was my turn and I had that weird feeling between excited and nervous.
When the day finally arrived I tried not to psych myself out too much. I traveled to the school with our Director of Program Development, Sara, and she helped me get set up. I got the chance to talk with the student volunteers who would be helping me and soon enough the crowd started to enter. The excitement in the room was overwhelming and I wasn’t sure if it was because the students were excited about the program or just loved that they got out of class.
When I started the assembly I realized that all the nerves that I had before just kind of drifted away. The flow of the assembly became like second nature and I felt at ease. As I introduced the program to the students I saw how each of them one by one started to realize that they too could be one of the recipients of the cash awards. As the student volunteers interacted with their classmates the room erupted with laughter and pure enjoyment. Whether it was getting an answer right or maybe a few wrong, every student was connecting to TCP but also learning what we stand for.
When I started to announce the award recipients I finally saw the change that TCP makes in students’ lives. The smiles that came to each student’s face as they heard their name being called is something I’ll never forget. The recipients were so grateful for being acknowledged and their friends who were in the audience became full of life as every name was read. I really loved getting to see how much the students supported one another and how proud students and teachers were to see classmates and students getting recognized for their hard work and dedication.
Even with all of the assemblies to come, my first assembly is definitely one I will always remember. It was the first time I was able to truly see every reaction from the crowd and really get to know the students. This program changes people’s lives and I can’t wait to watch that happen for future students.