David Corvi ’03 never thought he would be calling his old Gilmour teachers for advice his first year out of college, but as a corps member of Teach For America (TFA) that’s exactly what he did. After graduating from Ithaca College with a major in English literature and a minor in writing, Corvi was hired to teach ninth-grade English literature and coach soccer at Boys’ Latin of Philadelphia Charter School.
Corvi anticipated being placed in a “low-performing” urban high school and was thrilled when he was presented with the opportunity to teach at Boys’ Latin. The school, in its inaugural year, had goals similar to those of Gilmour. “I was attracted immediately to Boys’ Latin because of the academic focus the school was aiming to achieve – a college preparatory, contemporary/classical education. Sound familiar?” the alum says. However, commitment, dedication, and hard work within a school setting had never been expected of the young men before coming to Boys’ Latin. “The first year of teaching is an incredible feat by itself, but working at a brand new school added much more to the experience,” David says.
While most TFA corps members have little or no say in the administration and organization of their school, Corvi was encouraged to offer his suggestions on the development of Boys’ Latin. Along with a colleague, he created the academic schedule that is being used for the 2008–2009 school year. “With much-appreciated advice and support from some of my former teachers at GA – Tiho Teisl, Cindy Sabik, Kathy Kenny – my first year of teaching was an experience that will stay with me,” he comments.
After playing soccer for four years at Gilmour and three years at Ithaca College, Corvi was more than happy to accept the position of varsity coach of the school’s first soccer team. “The idea of starting a varsity program from the ground up with a freshman team is an experience not many are privileged to get, and I was – and still am – extremely excited about it,” he says. Initially, it was a struggle to get enough players with academic eligibility to play in games, but by the end of the season, Corvi had the team working together, improving their grades, and learning what it means to be respectful. “By the end of the first year, our young men at Boys’ Latin had exceeded every expectation we set for them and more,” he adds.
The Gilmour alum is currently pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education with an English concentration at the University of Pennsylvania. This past summer, he enjoyed a cross-country road trip with two of his friends from TFA. The trio drove over 9,800 miles, stopping in 32 states. “I guess it was our victory lap around the country to celebrate surviving our first year of teaching,” he jokes. Corvi credits his experiences at Gilmour, Ithaca College, and Boys’ Latin with shaping his outlook on life: that to be successful and become the person he wants to be, he needs to rely on the support, guidance, and sweat of many others. He emphasizes, “I respect, appreciate, and will never forget those who made it possible for me to have the opportunities I have in my life.”