by Lucas Spielfogel
When I met our first official class of Freshmen Fellows in the fall of 2014, I remember thinking they were so young, that it would be an eternity before I wished them good luck in college. A blink and four years later, the group that exemplified BRYC Fellowship has matriculated to colleges across the state and nation.
This powerhouse of a cohort entered BRYC at a time when I was rethinking what the organization should mean to its young people. As we grew, that year to 100 Fellows, I wondered how we would be able to serve more and more youth while maintaining the intimate sense of community which was lauded as BRYC’s secret sauce. The answer was Fellow engagement. Our youth had to own BRYC, and these bold freshmen were fit to lead that charge.
The original members of the Class of 2018 embodied the Empowering Choice “show up for BRYC.” Programs, parties, trips, special initiatives, it didn’t matter. They were present in full force and vocal about their peers needing to do the same – to be proud of being Fellows, to contribute as least as much as you reap and leave BRYC in better shape than you found it. They did that and then some. Theirs is a legacy of leadership.
Our first four-years gave us the confidence to see BRYC as a community whose collective impact is far greater than the sum of its college-preparatory resources. Rather, its power is its people – its young people most of all. It’s fitting we would send these leaders off as we prepare to celebrate our ten-year anniversary. Their tenure defined BRYC and will inform our next decade. We are grateful for them and don’t doubt what their influence will be in college and beyond.
At the 2018 Fellowship Banquet, BRYC introduced a new tradition, “legacy rings,” to honor our first official group of four-year Fellows. We hope these rings forever remind four-years of our appreciation for their long-term commitment to and impact on BRYC.