I recently graduated from Boston University with an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering (’17) and a graduate degree in Mathematics Education (’18). I currently teach 11th grade mathematics at a public charter school in Boston.
I aspire to go back to school to get my Doctorate of Education in either Educational Leadership or STEM Education. My ultimate goal is to use this degree to launch my career in administration and work towards developing an education system that decreases the opportunity gap amongst low-income students.
My favorite Riverbend memory is that every morning my parents would drop me off at Riverbend’s Early Care and every morning Mr. Cohen and I would sing the Beach Boys while he played the guitar. He used to change the lyrics to Barbara Ann to Margaret Ann and we’d sing it together every morning.
In my time as a public school teacher, I have seen a lot of students lack the ability to think or to be creative. Riverbend taught me not to memorize a fact or piece of information, but to understand it, use it, and then think beyond it. What I would tell current Riverbend students is that they should take the freedom they have to be creative and continue that way of thinking for the rest of their lives.
I am currently a sophomore at Marist College, working toward getting my degree and hoping to have an internship lined up next summer.
Riverbend took me on so many adventures within the class and outside of it. One of my favorite memories—perhaps not as adventurous and distinguished as, say, going to camp for several days (Sargent Center) or getting to sit in the General Assembly Hall of the UN—is at the end of each day, we would get to play in the playground or simply stand under the portico waiting for our family to arrive. I’m not sure why this sticks with me so much … I just remember it, and it makes me yearn for my days as a Riverbend student; Like thinking of Mr. Puleo and Mr. Wilkins yelling out each student’s or family’s name, without ever hesitating when seeing each car pull up because they, the teachers, knew the students and their families so well. I was usually the last one to be picked up, so I’d end up chatting a bit with one of my teachers while I waited. But that was no burden, I loved all of my teachers at Riverbend. I went to public school before Riverbend, and I can confidently say none of the teachers ever ever had the same relationship to their students as any Riverbend teacher had with me or my peers. It felt like family. I told my mom ever since I started attending Riverbend (as a fourth grader) that I wanted to send my kids there. This still holds true right now, as I am writing this.
I’m sure there is at least one student who needs to hear this because I wish I had a former Riverbend student tell me this when I was student there: do not wish your days away waiting for better ones, or wishing to be older. It’s not going to happen quickly, and by doing that, you miss the good days you’re actually living at that moment. As Andy Bernard from The Office once said, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” That’s not to say good days aren’t waiting for Riverbend students after their time is over, but I didn’t know how good my life was as a student at Riverbend until I was gone. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to attend Riverbend.
I graduated from Fordham University in 2016, and I now live in New York City, and work for the Westchester Knicks, the NBA G League affiliate team for the New York Knicks. I’ve been with the Knicks for three years, and am a Basketball Operations Associate. My main duty is managing the day-to-day operations of the team (setting the daily schedule, acting as the point of contact for our players and staff as well as acting as the point of contact for visiting teams). I also help our coaching staff with on-court workouts (during team practice and individual workouts), and our front office with scouting college and pro players we may want to draft or trade for. Working in pro basketball certainly keeps me busy, but I absolutely love it!
When I started working in basketball back in 2017, my goal was to land a job in the NBA. Now that I have spent a few years at the pro level, that hasn’t changed. My personal goal over the next few years is to keep working in the NBA G League and make myself competitive for a Basketball Operations job with an NBA team. I would love to keep working for the Knicks, but coming back home and working for the Boston Celtics wouldn’t be too bad either!
Given my current profession, my answer to this question shouldn’t be a shock to anyone. I have many fond memories of my time at Riverbend, but my favorites have always been surrounding Field Days. Participating in Riverbend Field Days helped shape my love for team sports. Riverbend Field Days put an emphasis on teamwork; working together and communicating to achieve a common goal. The relay races, tug of wars, and post-competition chants all highlight this emphasis on teamwork and show the importance of respecting your opponent. My experiences during Field Days helped me be the best teammate I could be while playing organized basketball growing up, and has certainly helped me professionally as well!
My advice to current Riverbend students is to take the lessons you learn, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, with you. The educational experience at Riverbend is so much more than just about getting good grades. It’s about giving you the tools to succeed in life; academically, socially, and professionally. My experience at Riverbend helped me massively in figuring out how to organize and balance my responsibilities with school with my personal interests like playing sports and spending time with friends. Finding the balance between school responsibilities and personal interests that works best for you is incredibly important. Riverbend gives you the tools to find this balance, and apply it in high school, college, and in professional life.