OPINION: We need to focus on celebrating Manual’s diversity more


Zoe Paige

A wide variety of students attend Manual, from all parts of the city and world.

Zoë Paige

Manual prides itself on diversity, but is it doing the best at celebrating that very diversity throughout school?  A few students who were interviewed about being second generation immigrants didn’t believe that Manual celebrated its diversity to the extent it could. Here are a few ways I think our school could further uplift and celebrate our diverse student body.

The Multicultural Fair was one of the biggest cultural celebrations seen throughout the school. Students came together to represent their heritage and unique customs, being given the opportunity to share this part of themselves with peers. There were artistic performances, homemade food and activities that allowed students to get a glimpse of other world views. This event was cancelled this and last year due to COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, but I believe that we shouldn’t let it fade away. In continuing this event, we allow students a safe place to come together and to learn from each other, broadening horizons and education. 

Another way to welcome and nurture diversity would be through supporting our clubs. There are multiple culture based clubs, such as the Asian Student Committee, Black Student Union, the Latino and Hispanic Student Organization (LAHSO) and more. Members have expressed their excitement at peers’ interest in something so instrumental to them, with many clubs eager to invite people of other backgrounds to learn and share in their cultural celebrations. 

We can do so much to support our clubs as students: show up to different meetings, donate, participate in an awareness event or fundraiser and bring others to share in this experience. When this isn’t enough, we should turn to administration to help support our events, promote our accomplishments and to overall help enrich the experience with a more mature outlook on life and what they’ve learned.

Our school is currently preparing to paint a mural commemorating our five magnets. I can only think that we should try and do the same for our many cultures. There are so many blank walls and talents overflowing in our arts programs, in our communities, in our various classrooms holding students of so many various backgrounds and upbringings. Seeing yourself represented in the halls of your school can build a stronger sense of belonging, of pride in knowing that you do go to a diverse school that cares. 

Another way we can help students feel seen and represented is by hiring teachers that reflect the student body. Seeing someone who looks like and has similar culture to you can give you a safe place in the classroom. Many students have little to no teachers that represent them. By hiring more teachers that represent our students, we can build engagement with students and teachers. It’s important to be introduced to and know how to interact with people from all over, but retaining that sense of familiarity is also important in the nurturing aspect of education for some students. 

Lastly, the most important thing we as a school can do is ask. Ask students, ask parents and ask teachers. How can we best represent you? How would you feel best supported? There are many resources available and ideas to be had, all you have to do is ask. Making opportunities for students to speak and to have accessibility is important in giving voice for those not in a majority. 

We must put in effort in order to continue making Manual an inclusive, safe space. We have to celebrate the incredible diversity we have. All we need to do is start taking steps forward in order to get there and not be afraid of straying from the same routine questions, answers and expectations. We are Manual. We are leaders and creative thinkers, proponents of the future and in making the world a better place. It’s time we start initiating that.