Mar 20 2011

Pirate Game Show Network

I don’t get to talk about my team (or my year) very often on this site.  While I’ve elected to talk about just about anything on this site, relevant to your life or not, I’ve been noticeably shy about talking about my CYLA team at Stevenson.  I don’t know why, it’s not like I don’t have a disclaimer page.

Status: Pirated.

There’s a lot of reasons why I’m fortunate to be a part of City Year for a second year.  I’m not going to waste space listing them here to get to what I need to say.  Community Meeting is probably my favorite part of City Year.  I already talked about my community meeting with my Overbrook team last year, and I was very much looking forward to my team’s scheduled community meeting this month.  The LA community meetings have ranged from spoofs of The Office to All That to YouTube.  The good community meetings involve everybody on the team, are at least somewhat original, and keep the City Year culture intact and relevant without being pretentious.  Much easier said than done.  Especially when you have 17 people on your team.

So after a few weeks of internal and external brainstorming, we took Camie’s idea about game shows and ran with it.  Our school is named after Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island), so we have been fortunate to use the Pirate mascot of the school for many things this year needing a theme.  What would you get if you cross pirates with television?  Pirate TV!  And what television channel has game shows?  The Game Show Network!  Of course we had to put it all together to create the Pirate Game Show Network.

"It's Pirate Game Show Network... arrgh."

We wanted to do a lot of things.  Our look and feel (decorations and accessories) was going to be on-point.  We wanted to involve our kids somehow.  Most novel, we wanted to involve the audience in the community meeting by actually having them participate in the game shows!  Camie thought of a way to get prizes for the winners.  It was also Camie’s birthday (JD was her birthday buddy), so while she wasn’t around, we plotted a way to surprise her during the community meeting.  It was a little bit risky to rely so much on technology because community meetings have been derailed in part by technical difficulties.  And we didn’t want to run over too long either.

But a shoutout to Gabe, Brittany, and everybody who worked on the look-and-feel, to Chelsea G for keeping a tight hand on the scripts and agenda, to Katharina for helping out with the videos, to Abiha for doctoring all of our pictures to make the opening montage, to Jasmine for finding all of the game show themes, and especially to THE Lucas for finding a way to make sure everything was edited with Katharina and Chelsea G as well as perfectly managing all of the audio/visual controls for almost 90 minutes!

As for the community meeting itself? The following is a brief synopsis of the eventful 90 minutes that went down this month during Pirate Game Show Network:

COLD OPENING – Pirate Game Show Network: Katharina put together an awesome slideshow, but then I recorded a menacing V/O in a pirate’s voice announcing the cancellation of the regularly scheduled community meeting due to the “un-sponsored” Stevenson team taking over airwaves on several channels.  Then Abiha’s opening montage of us pirates played over one of the tracks from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Let's Make "Ideal"

WARM-UP – Let’s Make “Ideal”: Monty Mac (Brandon) and his assistants (Amanda, Katharina, Gabe, Lucas, Daisy) handed out prizes to opportunistic City Year members who are always ready.

The "Pirate" Is Right

JOYS/RIPPLES – The “Pirate” is Right: Chelsea F and Camie gave audience members a chance to “come on down” and guess some facts about the Stevenson team.  Before that though, they showed a video of some of our students sharing joys (RE: good things), and afterwards, Camie shared a video of one of Sarah B.’s students from Sunrise.

Are Ye Smarter Than a 7th Grader

STARFISH – Are Ye Smarter Than a 7th Grader?: A starfish story is based off of “making a difference to that one student”.  Jeff Foxworthy apparently wasn’t available, so a British woman (Chelsea G) hosted and announced that the original contestant was killed riding with PM Arthur.  As a result, audience members filled in as they were challenged by Odvan, a 7th grader on the Everybody Can Be Great team in our after-school program (Creon had to announce that he was not smarter than a 7th grader)!  Jasmine then shared her starfish story about Odvan.

COMMERCIAL – The Idealist Handbag: The City Year team at Stevenson doesn’t have a City Year room, so we migrate from place to place (the staff lounge, the library, Arthur’s cubicle of an office, classrooms, etc.).  Traveling teams need the appropriate resources.  Brandon was the salesman here,  and though Chelsea F pulled Daisy out of the Idealist Handbag (along with several other irrelevant objects), she couldn’t find her keys.

Minute to "Moccasin" It

MOCCASINS – Minute to “Moccasin” It: Abiha hosted this program featuring Chelsea G and her heart-stopping dancing ability.  Afterwards, two audience members were challenged to grab scarves by spinning and leaping to place them in boxes in under a minute (really, under half a minute).

"Village" Newlywed Game

SPECIAL – “Village” Newlywed Game: Deon Marsh (myself), fresh off of a civic engagement event in South Beach that went so well that he started “civic wedding” people, was picked to host a version of the Newlywed Game that involved the Gompers (Dan and Gauthami), Virgil (Jeff and Jake), and Service (Kris and Jazz) teams (with a cameo by Charlie of Berendo, who would be employed by Deon Marsh as an assistant).  Of course, Deon Marsh decided it was appropriate to come out in nothing but an open red bomber, Timbs, and a wrapped towel.  Deon Marsh proceeded to use the entire game as a tool to announce his endorsement with Stone Soup (“mmm mmm good … eventually”) and to retire from game show hosting (“No More Questions”).

COMMERCIAL – Village of Voices: Impersonations of some of our great leaders in the CYLA village, including Creon (JD), Jake (Brandon), Camie (Amanda), Arthur (JD), Ramon (myself), Dan (Chelsea G), Willie (Chelsea F), Charlie (Jasmin), and Christine (me).


LIFEWORKS – Baggage: Claudia announced that Baggage was cancelled due to “low ratings”, clearing the way for Jasmin’s incredible life story.

Who Wants to be Appreciated?

APPRECIATIONS – Who Wants to be Appreciated?: Meredith Vieira (Brittany) hosted this pirated game show with contestant Boston Eddy (JD), a classic New Englander who couldn’t get past the fact that Regis Philbin wasn’t hosting.

Ca$h Van!

SPIRIT BREAK: Ca$h Van: The final program on Pirate Game Show Network involved PM Arthur luring our PD Mario F in a service van (claiming I somehow in-kinded a basketball free-throw hoop … it could happen someday) and surprising him by announcing that he wasn’t in any ordinary service van… he was now playing Ca$h Van! (RE: Mario wound up walking.)

At the end of the 90 minute community meeting (probably the longest of the year), we gave everyone cupcakes as a surprise birthday present to Camie.  It was a lively presentation of delicate chemistry and strong teamwork, and it was a moment for many of us that will live in legacy.  For now, we have to move on; we have a huge math event on March 31 (March MATHness), the brainchild of our math coordinator Gabe.  We’re also trying to end our after-school unit of Human Rights with a field trip to the Downtown Women’s Shelter, thanks to Abiha.  Not to mention our regular service.  The level of difficulty may increase, but this team always comes through.  I’m incredibly proud of my team at Stevenson, all 16 of them… arrrghh.

2010-2011: The CYLA Pirate Team at Stevenson


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