The Shoulders of Giants



“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
           -Isaac Newton

None of us could have gotten to where we are if not for the support, mentorship and achievements of those who came before us. As our new corps members begin their third week of training in preparation for service in the DC Public Schools, we asked them “On whose shoulders do you stand?” Many of our corps members’ responses are below. How about you? On whose shoulders do you stand? Share with us in the comments below, or tweet your response to @CityYearDC.

The giants on whose shoulders I have stood have been massive. Without being able to stand on their shoulders I would have never been able to see far enough to my dreams. Nor would I have been given the boost I needed to pursue what I saw.
Javonte McDonald, Corps Member

To most people, a giant is someone strong and tall. For me, my giant is strong-willed. My giant works tirelessly every day to lift me up higher so that I can one day reach my dreams. My giant is a woman who stands at five-feet, five-inches. She is my mother.
Joseph Morales, Corps Member from Amarillo, TX

The giants in my life are my friends who motivated me to pursue education beyond high school, and to peers and mentors who have guided me through life’s challenges. My parents and family members are also among my “giants” as they have worked hard to pave a road for me to have access to major decisions I have made in my life.
Michelle Didero, Corps Member from San Francisco, CA

My parents are my giants. I am able to do what I am doing now, to have come as far as I have come, because of them, because of their sacrifice and perseverance to come to the States and build a better life. I will be forever grateful to them for showing me how far I can go if I put my whole heart and being into it.
Alessandra Domestici, Corps Member from McLean, VA

The ‘giant’ in my life has always been my mother. I grew up in a single-parent household where the importance of education was stressed. My mom always wanted me to have more than she had and to learn from her mistakes. If it wasn’t for her wisdom and effort, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
Ashanté Branch, Corps Member from Statesville, NC

I’m standing on the shoulders of my mentor, who taught me to look past my current situation and concentrate on where I want to go in life. Sometimes you need someone to believe in you when you don’t believe in yourself. That’s what my mentor was for me. I hope that I can have that type of impact on someone else.
Kristina Frazier, Corps Member from Greensboro, NC

I stand on the shoulders of my aunt Sharon, who funded my education even though she was never able to attend college herself, and who passed away before she could see me graduate.  She was one of the most loving and generous people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing, and I strive to emulate her selflessness in my service.  I am grateful for the gifts she has given me, and thankful to have stood on her shoulders.
Katie Hanna, Senior Corps Member from Asheville, NC

I stand on the shoulders of my parents, who brought my family to America and have given me all of the opportunities that make me who I am today. I also stand on the shoulders of my sister, who challenges me to achieve everything she has and always has a smile on her face.
Olga Mutter, Corps Member from West Orange, NJ

I stand on the shoulders of my grandmother and grandfather.  After hearing stories of the hardships that they faced and overcame, I know that I can truly do anything.  To raise eleven children and some of their grandchildren without an education lets me know that there isn’t anything I can’t do as long as I am focused and determined.
Carissa Harris, Corps Member

I stand on the shoulders of so many giants. One of those special people is renowned civil rights activist Vernon Jordan, Jr., a hero to me and an alumnus of my alma mater.  In the year I’ve spent as his mentee, I have learned so much from him and have been challenged. These are key elements in any mentorship and I wish to yield these same feelings in the students who will look up to me.  It goes without saying that I also stand on the shoulders of my fellow corps members for I presume that without them this experience will not be as rich or as fun.
Charles Pierre, Corps Member

I stand on the shoulders of Mrs. Hanlon who helped me earn my first red jacket and learn that I could do anything I set my mind to.
Sheri Fisher, Senior Corps Member

I stand on the shoulders of Craig Iscoe, who was my scoutmaster for my entire Boy Scout career. He pushed me to always perform to the best of my ability and helped to shape one of the best experiences of my life. Now, my scouting experience is one of the defining aspects of my life.
Reid Lawrence, Senior Corps Member

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One response to “The Shoulders of Giants

  1. Pingback: On the Shoulders of Giants (I Was Just Potential) | River Deep, Mountain High·

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