The Power of Diversity
A lot of different flowers make a bouquet.
When I first moved to Concord in 2009, I was amazed by all the sights and sounds of this new suburban world. Being two and a half years old, and coming from New York, Concord felt like the most rural place on earth. I was riveted by the wildlife, the (lack of) people, and the puny two-story buildings. What delighted me the most, perhaps, was the Concord Public Library. You see, I don’t recall ever seeing a library prior to this one, so the idea of a place to get books for free was brand new to me. New York City had libraries, pretty famous ones at that, but I had just never seen nor recognized them as libraries. I couldn’t read, of course, but I was still in awe of this building with books lined from head-to-toe. There was everything from textbooks, which at that time I didn’t know I would come to dread, to children’s books that I wanted to have read to me at bedtime. I couldn’t believe that a place could have such a wide variety of things, let alone books. With the act of bringing me to the library, whether it was subconscious, or simply a brilliant idea, my parents introduced me to diversity. Through these books, I learned of new people, stories, and ideas I had never dreamt of. This opened my eyes to an exciting world.
Concord is obviously not the most racially diverse town, but as the years passed by, I made many friends with many different interests and family backgrounds. Even as a young boy, I recognized the importance of diversity in my life. By making friends with as many kids as I could, I was exposed to different activities and ideas which made my young life more interesting and exciting. As I look back on this, I understand how this is important in all phases of life, regardless of age.
In the fourth grade, I transitioned from the Concord Public Schools to Fenn. I was given the opportunity to explore diversity more deeply. I was a consistent participant in DEI meetings, and enjoyed discussing and learning about things like other cultures, and ideas about diversity, equity, and inclusion that I had never considered before. Just like in my young childhood, I sought out ways to add diversity to my life through listening to other people’s experiences. In this time, I truly learned the importance of valuing diversity, whether it be racial, religious, or cultural. I realized that if someone can understand another person’s life experiences, they can better support them if they are hurt by injustice. At Fenn, I have learned what a strong community looks like, and how it relies on having and valuing unique and diverse perspectives from community members.
This year, I applied to high schools. This experience was full of fun, stress, fatigue, and excitement. At the start of the application process, I was immediately attracted to boarding schools, even though I would be a day student. At boarding schools, students come from all over the world, and have different life experiences. I wanted to attend a school where everyone’s voice was unique because a community is stronger, and more interesting when every member has something different to contribute. At Fenn, I learned that within diverse communities, it is important that everyone’s differences are respected, and, most importantly, valued. Many prejudices that foster discrimination are created through devaluing differences. Getting to know people who are different from us helps us to appreciate our differences, but also helps us to recognize our similarities. When you become friends with someone from a different race, religion, or gender who has experienced discrimination, their story becomes more personal to you. Mistreatment is always upsetting and a reason to take action, but when you know someone personally who has been treated unjustly, you are driven to work even harder for change. It is important to me to work for the celebration of diversity at my next school because I believe in a ripple effect. One inclusive community might not change the world, but it will certainly influence it.
Since that day in the library, I have gone on to learn the true power of diversity. I have learned that diversity brings beauty and life to an imperfect world, making it a wonderful and vibrant place.