School is a place where similarities and differences come together to create a fusion of individuals who are destined to coexist with the purpose of being unique in their own special ways but at the same time no different from one another. Diversity signifies the journey of acceptance without the judgment of characteristics like race, financial status, gender, sexuality, religion or any other circumstances that are out of the ordinary, according to the majority. Despite the fact that prejudice still lives, the progress of being assorted is continuous and outstanding. For instance, the existence of diversity in many schools provides a horizon of enlightenment at an early age just by being mixed together to learn.
It felt a lot less scary to enter into a new beginning when the moment of realization arrived that I was surrounded by others who also share the same experience of being from another country. It comforted me like a childhood blanket. The movement of the changes in my life was so incredibly fast and new that I didn’t even have time to think about what to expect in a new learning environment. It didn’t take long to feel situated in a new school compared to how I felt when outside of the building. I was a student who was learning the same curriculum as the rest. A sense of belonging was present even though we came from a variety of ethnic backgrounds. We didn’t share the same spoken language at home, but School 45 was our equalizer. The experience provoked a step out of the circle of comfort. It triggered an interest to learn something new about others that would eventually lead to friendships. It opened doors to infinite discoveries that are always waiting for an open mind to grasp. I developed an appreciation for culture. Whether its expanding my food palate, or seeing a friend’s traditional clothing, beliefs and rituals, learning the meaning behind it all encouraged a dream to travel the globe. This exposure to different cultures has helped me cope with other changes in my life.
High school introduced a new concept of diversity. Those hallways will teach you that the ability to form opinions, make decisions and mistakes comes from young souls who are just trying to figure out their identity. Also, they will teach you that not everyone is going to be a lifelong friend who will accept these opinions, decisions and mistakes. They will prove that no one is alone in this place. Whether it’s a phase of having different colors of hair, gravitating to different fashion styles every year, indulging in different genres of music, the place that provides education also gives a shelter for acceptance.
Different is a good thing. The greatest way of communicating to your peers is looking past any barriers and speaking the language of kindness and acceptance. Two important concepts that will help not just you, but anyone that walks into your life.
Sydney Berbano is a senior at Hutchinson-Central Technical High School.