UC High’s Diversity Fosters Positive Experiences for All
March 24, 2017
Filed under Opinions
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UC High’s campus is filled with students and staff from all different backgrounds, and our diversity is something to be celebrated. The many faces which make up our diverse campus go beyond that of appearance, and include diverse countries of origin and varied socioeconomic backgrounds. The students attending UC High have come from many different backgrounds, all to prosper together in UC High’s tightknit community.
If one didn’t know any better, one might think UC High would be comprised of mainly students from the local area and alumni of the local middle schools, yet on the contrary, students from outside of the local area hold the majority. According to the 2016 Western Association of Schools and Colleges, out of 1,807 students attending UC High, approximately 1,063 of those attendees were part of the Choice Program or the Voluntary Exchange Enrollment Program. That’s 59 percent of the UC High student population! That means UC High has a lot of teens who come from many different environments, which is actually pretty interesting in the sense of meeting new friends from various backgrounds.
Additionally, the WASC report reveals the number of students who are, by definition, economically disadvantaged. About 40 percent of UC High attendees — roughly 664 students — qualified for the free and reduced lunch program. Many assume that because UC High is located within a generally upper middle class area that the students are all “well off,” yet teens from drastically differing financial backgrounds attend the school every year. Admittedly, the report shows that the number has slowly been decreasing by a percent or two each year, but there is still a large portion of the school who qualify.
Junior Ely Sanchez stated, “It’s nice to know people who are and are not as financially secure as other people, because it’s nice to see different personalities and appreciation.” Sanchez explained that even though people may have varying economic status, students get along just fine, putting differences, if they even notice differences. “It’s good to see people come together and appreciate one another for who they are rather than what they have.”
According to the UC High ESL [English as a Second Language] rosters, the program houses students from nine different countries (including Saudi Arabia, Brazil, China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan), each student bringing a little bit of his/her own culture to the school. The ESL teacher said that every time these teens are put in situations where social interaction is necessary, the students speak to learn and embrace the diversity of their fellow peers. This casual interaction may even allow the stereotypes and bias students have to be challenged. Luckily, these English learners aren’t thrown into the deep-end the of the pool without a floaty; each teacher at UC High has been trained to know how to help these teens in order to make sure they understand and take in the material given.
On top of this, the WASC report shows that in 2013 there were over 32 languages spoken at UC High. For while the common language on campus is of course English, a few dominant tongues spoken at the time were Spanish, Filipino, Vietnamese, and Korean, among others. It’s amazing that on such a relatively small campus, such a large variety of people interact on a daily basis (wasc.org).
The diversity at UC High is great for everyone. It makes for interesting conversation and interaction.