ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The start of the new school year is like wiping a slate clean and starting fresh for both teachers and students alike. However, for three Rochester City School District employees, this year, it means even more.

Zanayia Hercules, Rosheada Davis, and Courtney Jackson-Troupe are all new to RCSD this school year. However, what makes their journey’s even more impactful is that they are all RCSD graduates.

“To be at the school that I graduated from and to become a teacher, it’s the highest civic honor,” Davis said.

Davis is a seventh-grade English teacher at Franklin High School and said she’s excited to connect with students who are just like her.

“Because I do come from the same neighborhoods that they live in, and I have grown through a lot of the experiences and adversity that they face, I think that I’ll definitely be an asset to their life regarding being a positive impact,” Davis said.

Courtney Jackson-Troupe is an incoming school social worker at Northeast High and said she always knew she would be coming back to the district.

“Having been a youth in the Rochester City School District, I feel a responsibility to give back what I received,” Jackson-Troupe said.

Jackson-Troupe said there’s a “negative narrative about city school district students” and says she wants to change that narrative.

“This narrative that the children here are broken, or come here broken and need to be fixed. Our scholars don’t need that. Our scholars need support. They need educational nurturance. And I want to be a part of changing that,” Jackson-Troupe said.

Zanayia Hercules is an incoming music teacher at Helen Barrett Montgomery School No. 50 and said beyond teaching, her goal is to give students a safe space.

“If they’re worried about getting hurt, or violence or anything that has to do with outside things, my job is to make sure that they know that they’re loved,” Hercules said.

Hercules said when she was a student, the district didn’t have the best reputation which is exactly why she came back.

“Not only did those teachers give me the opportunity, I had no choice but to be in the RCSD. So just like these students that are here now have that same ‘no choice’ as I did, I should be able to do the same thing that my teachers did. Forget the fears. Forget all that. I’m here to make a difference,” Hercules said.

Rochester City School District classes kick off Wednesday, September 7.