City Year Boston article

More Things Teenagers Say: Aggy?

The other day I asked my two teenagers for more material for this column, Things Teenager Say. They weren’t very helpful. And they weren’t very impressed that their unique vocabulary was so interesting to other parents.  They didn’t even offer up anything colorful in response to my request. They just turned away, scrolled around on their smart phones and ignored me. Somehow, this doesn’t work if I actually ask for ideas. Yikes!

City Year BostonLuckily, I attended the City Year Boston Leadership Breakfast and conducted field research into the topic.  I met many interesting women and heard several more accomplished and inspiring women speak about the work of City Year Boston.

One of these women, Alysha Newton, a City Year Corps member serving at The English High School in Jamaica Plain, explained during her speech that one of the teens she works with calls her: “Aggy.” Alysha is Aggy if she is aggravating; bothering the students by keeping them on track and on task. She smiled when she explained her nickname because that’s what City Year Corps members are supposed to be, Aggy. She went on to say that just a few months later, this same student was doing his work and doing well. I think he stopped calling her Aggy.

City Year Boston article
Alysha with Grace

When her speech was finished, I managed to grab a few minutes with her. “What else can you tell me about the mysterious language of The English High School in Jamaica Plain?” I asked. I was energized! She shared the following list of other notable phrases, but explained with a grin that the students have probably moved on already and have generated new things to say. Isn’t that why we’re so curious about this topic?

From Alysha:

  • Chips – means “wack” (“What is wack?” I had to ask) which means stupid (oh!)
  • A Force – means “you’re trying too hard” – “you’re a force.”
  • Dots – this was my favorite. Can you guess what this means? If you’re talking and you run out of things to say you say, “…Dots.” Get it?

Now, thanks to Alysha, The English High School, and City Year, I can teach my teens a few new things to say. And…then…they can go back to their smart phones…and ignore me…Dots.


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