Life as a KIPPster: Then & Now

by Ariel Reynolds on Nov 13, 2015

in Alumni, Our KIPPsters, Team & Family

Every year, KIPP Houston’s Regional Services Team (RST), often called administration in other school systems, hosts the annual Shadow a KIPPster Day. Nearly 80 RSTers to experience life as KIPPster and stay in tune with the mission of KIPP. As KIPPsters read, RSTers read. As KIPPsters played basketball, RSTers played basketball. As KIPPsters learned to count to 100, RSTers pretended to learn all over again. 

Although every participant leaves the day feeling renewed and excited, committed to the work of KIPP, the day is particularly special to our former KIPP students.

KIPP Then and Now

Then: Small group of KIPPsters

Now: 12,500 KIPPsters

Then: Old and borrowed spaces

Now: 10 different school campuses

Then: Encouragement, Team & Family, and a passion for climbing the mountain to and through college

Now: Encouragement, Team & Family, and a passion for climbing the mountain to and through college

Big KIPPster Lupita Talley

Lupita Montes Talley is an original KIPPster and now works as the Media Manager for KIPP Houston. She spent her day shadowing a KIPP CONNECT Middle School 5th grader.

“We went to breakfast, did our morning work, attended theater, writing, and history classes,” Lupita explained. “It’s interesting though because what really stuck out weren’t the day’s activities. I noticed two kids having a hard day and two other classmates comforting those students. I remember living through that. Looking back, I see even more now how important it is that we see classmates as family and not just classmates.”

Then: We were taught to ask for help when we need it.

Now: Students continue to be taught our credo, "When we need help, we ask."

Then: My favorite memories at KIPP are from the trips we took each year. I vividly remember being in Boston and having one of Mike Feinberg’s friends buy us clam chowder. None of us had ever even seen clam chowder so we put it in our empty Dorito bags and threw it away. I still laugh thinking about the times we had together.

Now: Being in the classroom, I noticed the same connection between students. The students spend so much time with each other that the connections are real and fun.

Big KIPPster Elvira Gutierrez

Elvira is a KIPP alumna and current KIPP Payroll Administrator. She shadowed a PreK KIPPster at KIPP SHARP.

“I still say Mike didn’t convince me his first year,” Elvira joked. “I first came to KIPP in 6th grade instead of my 5th grade year.”

Then: “Read, Baby, Read.” We were taught chants for everything. We had chants for numbers and multiplication facts. It helped us learn.

Now: All during the day, the students chanted different things. The PreK KIPPsters were learning the letter “F” so they even had a chant about that.

Then: Teachers invested in me as a student at KIPP. People encouraged me to try and succeed.

Now: I got to be a part of that same KIPP philosophy. I loved seeing the smiles on their faces as we made stars with Playdoh and learned to count numbers. When I encouraged them, their faces lit up. I remember that same feeling and I am thankful it still continues today.

KIPP will continue to grow, change, and evolve, but as the years go by, we are grateful to see the core of who we are continues to stay the same.