In the next week, I will count to 15 several times a day. I am the CCV staff member lucky enough to travel with 15 students to New York City as part of CCV’s study away program. These students studied Ethnicity and Diversity in the U.S. during the fall semester and are continuing their studies in the diverse city of New York. When we depart from and arrive at any location, I count to be certain they are all present, and certain they all return home.
Fifteen. All 15 present at the train station even though it’s –31 degrees in Vermont. Many cars did not start, heating systems were broken, and beds were warmer than the train station. They must really want to go!
Fifteen. Okay. So, there are 16 people in the photo. Bruce Baskind is the teacher for the class, true expert on New York City, and energetic leader of the 15.
Fifteen. All 15 board the train.
Fifteen. We get off the train. I hand out 15 MetroCards. Some students have never ridden a subway and most have never been to NYC. There is a specific swipe needed to get the card through the reader on the turnstile. We fail miserably but New Yorkers are quick to help.
Fifteen. Fifteen amazing, funny, helpful, smart students. They’ve read books, watched movies, analyzed articles, and engaged in challenging conversations about issues of ethnicity and diversity during the last few months.
Fifteen. Each student has their own favorite part of the itinerary—a place they are eager to visit, or food they are hoping to try. I learn the side trips they are hoping to make during the free time—the opera, The Ramones museum, a café that serves an entire menu of confections that includes cookie dough (okay, maybe this last one is mine).
Fifteen. These 15 students will soon be sharing their stories and photos here. And, soon they’ll return to Vermont with changed minds, full bellies, and strong voices. Listen to them.