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The Role of Diversity at South

Ellie Swigle, Journalist

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Two years ago, I shadowed at South. While waiting in the huge lobby for my shadower to come down, Mrs. Duell talked about all of the amazing things that our high school has to offer. Diversity was one of the first things that she mentioned. Other South students continued to stress to me the importance of our diverse student body. However, thing that many students don’t know is that South is the 14th most diverse high school in the country and the number one most diverse school in Colorado.

A year later when I was a freshman I came into the year thinking that everyone from all  different backgrounds, ethnicities, religion, etc. would come together and be friends. This however is not the case. Although South High School is an amazing place where the whole world is in one building, this does not mean that we are all friends. When asked the question;  Did you have an expectation of what South would be before you came. If so what was it and how is it different than what you thought it would be? A South student replied, “I definitely did. The teachers and kids made it sound like everyone would be friends but I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. I love our school and I think that diversity is a really important thing that we have. ”

The past homecoming week really highlighted this. The week started with a pack the house volleyball game. Rebels did a great job of showing up to support. The rebellion section was packed with white kids. To the right of those bleachers was a section with black and Latino students. I heard a girl in front of me on the bleachers comment on this and I looked over to see that it was surprisingly true. I asked a second student about their thoughts on levels of diversity in classes and clubs. “I think the clubs do a good job at including all students. But, some of my classes are definitely more diverse than others.”

Later that week, we had rebel round up where many of my friends and I noticed the same thing. While many white students were wandering around the different booths there was a large group of students of color outside of the gym foyer. They were dancing, listening to music, and laughing together.

Although, students are allowed to be friends with whomever they want too; I am still shocked about the racial divide in our school. I truly think that everybody at South does their best to be kind to others. South is a place where people of all races and ethnicities are accepted, but generally kids that look different from each other will not be seen sitting at the same lunch table.

I could not tell you a specific reason why this is, maybe because students backgrounds are so different, or it could be that you are more likely to become friends with people who are similar to you. No matter the reason, I think South has to ask the question; is this how we want our school to be? If so that’s ok, but if not what needs to change?  The last question I asked was, how has diversity impacted your experience at South? “It is so cool to see all of the people we have at South. I love culture fest and the new things I get to learn about the world.”

 

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