By Jeet Rai
As college application deadlines loom closer and the hunt for the perfect four-year university becomes increasingly difficult, frantic high school senior Shari Coleman narrows her searches based solely on one factor: diversity. To her disbelief, esteemed colleges like Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, has 6% African Americans, 6% Hispanics, 12% Asians, 2% Native Americans, and 74% Caucasians.
Coleman lets out a sigh of frustration and begins to appreciate Granada Hills Charter High School’s diversity. As she walks around campus the next day, she realizes that no matter what race, ethnicity, background, or color, GHCHS students are pretty much equally mixed.
Cliques and clubs at GHCHS boast all types of people, even clubs uniquely focused on a certain race, such as the DESI club, have members that are not necessarily Indian. This is one of the beauties of GHCHS: its diverse students are able to interact and mingle with ease.
“I’m definitely known as a white girl and my best friend is definitely known for being Indian, but our differences don’t bother me; rather, they make our friendship that much more interesting. Granada’s language classes, clubs and programs offer great insight into a global community and I’ve become much more globally aware and exposed to cultures because of it,” junior Sara Johnson said.
A culturally diverse atmosphere not only sparks curiosity in students to learn about others’ traditions but it also introduces a world view that will be vital in virtually any career path they choose to take.
Although there are many benefits for students immersed in diversity, for teachers, this may not always be the case. Teachers are faced with the challenge of making instruction “culturally responsive” for all students while not favoring one group over another.
For example, classroom discussion regarding the Vietnam War has potential to exclude some students. Thus, teachers can draw attention to the perspectives of North as well as South Vietnamese citizens, the feelings of the soldiers, and different American views. In essence, teachers can structure learning groups that are varied and devise activities that require each student to contribute to the group.
Additionally, to ensure that all students succeed regardless of their ethnicity or language background, the federal No Child Left Behind act helps improve individual outcomes in education. This act is a premise set specifically for elementary school students, but is one that can also be applied to students in higher grade levels.
“I know for a fact that it is often hard for teachers to structure class or create groups and still remain impartial. It’s difficult to avoid harsh accusations that students sometimes make. But overall, I think that Granada handles its diversity well. Racial or cultural segregation is one thing I do not have to worry about here,” junior Melissa Rubio said.
Indeed, with all of the rising global issues in education today, it is a relief to be able to go to a school that promotes and accepts rather than condemns and neglects cultural nonconformity. People need to cherish others’ quirks because they are what make people unique and different from one another in society.
How utterly boring would school be if students learned about peoples that were carbon copies of one another? That’s not learning, that’s classic comedy, but also, more realistically, a sad lifestyle that would otherwise force people to remain ignorant and oblivious to the vibrant world around them.