By David Nikaido, SA2020 Trinity Mellon Fellow in Education, Summer 2013
When I first heard the name SA2020, I thought it was some local vision care provider. I wasn’t in need of new eyewear, so I shrugged it off. The second time I heard about SA2020, I found out it actually was a vision provider, except not only for my eyes, but for the whole city – a kind of vision that would bring definition and clarity to sometimes blurry situations. A vision that might require progressive lenses and durable frames. So I thought, yeah, maybe I could use a new look.
Now that I’ve got me a new vision provider I can’t stop talking about them. And by them, I mean us. By us, I mean SA2020. Not just because I was once a summer Fellow working on Education with P16 Council, but because we are all part of the vision, regardless of position or situation. When I start talking about “orchestrating one of the greatest turnarounds in education in the United States” (the “lens” for Education), I can’t help but feel responsible for seeing this vision through. I am a recent college grad. I am (now) a San Antonian. I am passionate about education. I AM SA2020. How can I not be part of something so cool?
But for real, folks, I truly do believe in SA2020. It compels me to take action. I hear things like more than a quarter of 3rd graders in San Antonio (that’s over six thousand students) aren’t reading at grade level. I know things like one in six students who cannot read at grade level by 3rd grade do not graduate from high school. But then I see things like SA2020 and find out that by volunteering with San Antonio Youth Literacy, I can help flatten the 3rd grade reading hill by being a Reading Buddy for a kid who just needs a bit of my time each week. And just like that, even if it’s only a small bit, I am part of the greatest turnaround in education the country has ever seen.
Yeah, I probably sound a bit idealistic, or cheesy. It’s true. You don’t really need perfect vision to be able to walk forward. But it definitely helps if you want to run, or drive (I’ve tried both of these things without my glasses – not a good idea). And if we all drive this city forward together, we need to follow this vision. And maybe if together we can make a difference in the lives of six thousand 3rd graders, who is to say we can’t make a difference to 1.3 million San Antonians?