A brave little African American girl marched her way through crowds of angry and distraught white parents who shouted despicable things at her on November 14, 1960. Guarded by U.S. Marshalls, her head held high, this six year old walked through it all on her way to her first day of school. Ruby Bridges was one of the first African American students to be integrated in to a “white” school. Diversity in schools was put into motion that November 14th.
Today, there is no longer just black and white. There is African American, Caucasian, Hispanic, Indian, Iraqi, Asian, and so much more. High school has become its own melting pot, and Eaglecrest is certainly no exception.
“There’s so much diversity at Eaglecrest, it gets rid of racial issues for me and I can just hang out with people,” junior Rebecca Richardson said.
In the 2008-2009 school year, there was 0.6 percent Native American students, 7.9 percent Asian American students, 19 percent African American students, 13.4 percent Hispanic American students, and 59.2 percent Caucasian students that made up Eaglecrest, with the exception of many other different cultures and races that contribute to its student body.
However, today, diversity is all about the way you define yourself.
Senior Gurpreet Kaur, who defines herself as Indian, said, “We have a lot of different cultures and races at Eaglecrest and I think it helps the students because it teaches us about many cultures and gives us a preview of the real world.”
The majority of students feel that Eaglecrest does not have any racial problems or apparent division between races. Prejudice is not the problem; however, stereotyping may be. Everyone has been subject to stereotyping whether it was dependent on race or not. Despite her complete acceptance, Kaur said, “People should realize that not all Indians speak with thick accents. I don’t think I do.”
Junior Heidi Kim, who defines herself as Asian, said, “All Asian languages do not sound the same, and just because we’re Asian doesn’t mean we’re good at school.” Kim also stated, “The Koreans here are from SOUTH Korea and not North, so we’re not going to bomb you.”
Kim, who came to the United States from Korea, didn’t have as hard of a time as Ruby did, but it was frightening at the same; “I saw white people everywhere,” Kim said. “I had a lot of trouble understanding and my eyes kept wandering. I remember keeping my head down as low as possible. It’s scary to think of transferring schools, especially when you’re new to the language itself.”
Despite division and stereotyping, only good things can come from having a school as diverse as Eaglecrest. “Without the amount of diversity [at EHS], our students wouldn’t feel as comfortable,” junior Taylor Brown said. And, let’s face it, if students aren’t comfortable, they’re not going to excel as well as they could.
Things have definitely improved since the time of Ruby Bridges, we’ve mixed more cultures into our melting pot, and with this, Eaglecrest has nowhere to go but up.