The post below is from Emily Tran, Dream Project High School Lead Manager, about her experience at the Municipal League Civic Awards Banquet on Thursday, April 11, 2012.
We were greeted with smiling faces and hands outstretched. The table linens looked crisp and the sound of chatter was merely a murmur under soft jazz. We were handed nametags, with a star and red ribbon attached. The food table was piled high with goodies a poor college student could only dream of and the champagne poured generously.
When I found out that I had been nominated to attend the Municipal League’s Annual Civic Awards Banquet, I was honored. But, I didn’t know how honored I should have been. There we were, a bunch of twenty-somethings doing our average-whatevers, in a room with fifty-somethings who make great changes in our state. And the best part? They were there to celebrate us. Us! The twenty-somethings who still struggled to balance school with a social life were being honored at an event attended by people who had hit their stride. We rubbed elbows with policy-makers, philanthropists, lawyers, and many other influential people who congratulated us on our hard work. And while it is sometimes easy to forget amidst all the logistical things it takes to keep the Dream Project running, it was amazing to realize that we were being awarded for our achievements because we, the Dream Project, are doing something really great.
The Doug Mason Memorial was one among five awards being given that evening. The Doug Mason Award is given to “a person, age 35 or under, who during the previous year made a special contribution to the people of King County.” To put this in perspective, other winners of the evening included Judge Mary I. Yu of the King County Superior Court, Maggie Walker, the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle, and the Seattle Transit Blog. As we were receiving our award, Avery from Community Center for Education Results (CCER), spoke about the ways we have touched her and the students that we work with. Her speech was incredibly moving as she made it clear that our collaboration and efforts have not gone unnoticed. She spoke about how the nation’s citizens all share the same goals for education, that we all want every student to succeed. However, she then went on to say that the Dream Project not only has this same goal in mind, but that we are making great strides towards achieving that goal.
As the evening came to a close and the last notes of the stand-up bass drifted out into the foyer, I was struck by how grateful I am to be a part of an organization that is doing such amazing work. I get to be with a group of driven, talented, passionate, and fun-loving people on a daily basis who are simply humans, working together towards a cause so important to the future of our country. So while we may be singing One Direction in the office or wearing our pajamas to meetings, we can’t forget the impact that we are making.
It is also at this point that I’d like to thank every single one of our mentors, whether they have been with us for many quarters or this is their first. Without them, the Dream Project would not exist. It is the hard work of our mentors that have led us here. I would also like to thank all of our students, both current and past. It is the passion and drive of these students that keep us going.
Dream Project High School Lead Manager