By Sergio Bucio Jacinto
Our community and school district here in Forest Grove are slowly plunging into a more diverse way of living . We are a mirror image of what is really happening in our country today. The amount of diversity is increasing every single day. Today in the United States, one in four Americans belongs to a minority or is foreign-born, and today’s workplace is more diverse than it has ever been in history. Here in Forest Grove High School,the racial background is for the majority, easily divisible. The White population make up the majority, with 52% of the students. Closely following, the Latino population comes in second at 44% of the students. The other 4% is made up of Black, Asian & Pacific Islander populations. From the beginning, in daycares all the way through High school, there is an immersion of culture that makes socializing with others very delightful.
For example, here in Forest Grove, learning in a classroom with students from diverse backgrounds has many advantages. One benefit is that students who have interactions with people of all races, cultures, academic abilities, and people with handicapping conditions learn acceptance and tolerance. It’s a great skill that should be practiced from the beginning. Our unified learning program, is incredible. It provides with students the ability to work with students with disabilities, often creating a positive impact on both.
Because of the diversity in our classrooms, our students are learning about different backgrounds, cultures, and customs in the most natural way possible, through their daily interactions with other students in their classroom and school. Pablo Vazquez, 15 believes “It’s a fun way to learn about people’s background and how different the learning styles can be.” Through these positive interactions, students leave schools here in Forest Grove capable of entering the world of labor force or college ready to interact and learn side-by-side with people of different backgrounds and cultures.
Although diversity in the classroom is an amazing way to learn about others, it can also have some negative effects as well. Social groups are formed on the basis of similar interests, hobbies also other things like race and religion. This can be a particular problem for minority groups within a classroom, who may feel isolated from other students who form social groups based on similarities. This isolation, that some of the minority students feel is actually, very relatable to students between the same race group as well. With social status and popularity becoming a big deal in high school, students face challenges to “fit in” and to be included from activities. This could lead to unfortunate events later down the road. When social groups are formed, tensions can arise in the classroom, discouraging awareness and tolerance towards others.
At Forest Grove High School, Students face a diverse student body on a daily basis. Although this might cause discomfort, it often passes with time and students learn to work within a diverse classroom, helping them become tolerant, understand and accept other students despite differences. Students later understand that the world we are living in today is forever changing, and staff and students continue to thrive and enrich their social ability with people from diverse backgrounds.