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Ayana Murphy

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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.