Embracing Diversity

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As we make our paths through high school, some of our most valuable learning opportunities come not from teachers or textbooks but from our fellow students. As we expose ourselves to new ideas and stories from people with different backgrounds and experiences, we broaden our individual perspectives and learn how to think critically by examining issues from multiple perspectives. 

We miss out on this opportunity, however, if we hesitate to step out of our comfort zones by surrounding ourselves with those who are different from ourselves. 

In this issue of the Puma Press, we specifically discuss the effects of gender imbalance in University Prep classrooms, especially in gender-focused, physical education and STEM classes. Lack of diversity of any kind, though, including race, socioeconomic class, culture, sexuality and more, can negatively impact our classroom experience and limit our ability to learn.  If a roster consists primarily of students who share the same or similar identities, those students’ perspectives will be necessarily limited since they lack exposure to ideas of those who are different from them. 

In order to foster an environment where students can reach their highest academic and intellectual potential we, as students, must push ourselves to create more diverse classrooms. We must endeavor to take classes that aren’t always the same as the classes our friends are taking and avoid classes that people of our same gender, race, culture or other identity tend to dominate. Though it can be uncomfortable to step outside our comfort zones and sign up for a class that our friends aren’t taking or where many of the other students come from different backgrounds, those uncomfortable classrooms are where we learn the most.