Guest Post: Summer Fellow Sean Lumkong

From San Diego to Baltimore

Wrapping up my first year at Brown University, I was unsure what my summer held in store for me. I thought I might just go back to the local restaurant, hosting and dishwashing to make a few bucks. I always knew I was interested in teaching, but there weren’t too many opportunities back home, and I didn’t want to be solely in an academic setting. Using Brown’s internship listing site, I luckily found Prep @ Collegiate. I couldn’t believe it. I would get the opportunity to experience a new city, work with a great group of young men, teach, and coach sports. However, I soon realized that Prep @ Collegiate was so much more than its job description. Wrapping up my second week here at Prep @Collegiate, I can truly say that it has been a life changing experience.

Arriving in Baltimore on the fourth of July under fireworks in the sky, I went to sleep nervous and curious about the upcoming week. What will the boys think of me? Will I get along with my co-workers? Am I ready for this? Thankfully, my first day, I instantly bonded with the staff team. They were very welcoming and made me feel comfortable and confident. I can’t thank them enough. The opening ceremonies on Sunday were also great. It was wonderful meeting the gents and their families. Talking with the boys and their parents made things easier as I was able to come in to camp with a sense of each crew member’s goals and ambitions.

The first day with the boys was active and eventful. Tackling ropes courses and engaging in competitive games, Outward Bound was the perfect way to quickly gel with my crew and get to know my gents’ personalities. My experience has only gotten better since. My crew is a group of amazing young men that are committed to the goals of the program. They are talented, smart, and diligent, and they also love to have a good time. I have found it easy to talk with each gent, and some of my favorite moments at camp have been during these spontaneous discussions. Furthermore, the energy they bring to the camp is amazing. These boys just know how to keep going. This positive energy makes co-curriculars and competitions intense and entertaining. In addition, all 37 gents are very intelligent. Talking and watching these boys I am learning something new every day. Co-teaching English with Ms. Dry, I have been able to watch these boys develop their reading and writing skills daily. Working with each boy, I can see that he is committed to his schoolwork and eager to learn. Watching the progress the boys have made in the classroom over these last two weeks gets me very excited for each gent’s future. There is unlimited potential with these boys.

Outside of the classroom, I have had the pleasure of leading some co-curricular activities with the hope of informing the boys on different topics and helping them find a passion. Leading a seminar on community engagement and politics in Baltimore, I wrote a lesson with the goal of informing boys on the local political process and importance of voting along with different community organizations and how to get involved. The boys picked things up well, and I encouraged each to volunteer at some community organization for at least a day this summer. In addition to that seminar, Fellow Luke and I led a workshop on college athletics and how to get there. Working with the boys and finding out their goals, it soon became evident that half of them wanted to play in the NBA or NFL. With this workshop, Luke and I informed students on the college recruitment process, balancing academics with athletics, and the level of commitment it takes to play at the elite level. We also personally talked with students who really wanted to commit themselves.

 

--Sean Lumkong