Teen Talk 7-13

Lansing is a pretty integrated community, yet we still have problems with diversity in our schools. I know of incidents in several high schools where people have made negative racial remarks and it starts a feud between the races. This has happened at my school, Waverly High School.

Most people just let these racial comments pass, especially at my school. We never discuss it as a school or student body. As a person who serves on Waverly’s Student Senate I think we should discuss it in schools. I think we should have formal programs for students and staff. Have you looked at any of the cafeterias in Lansing area schools and seen how segregated they are? It’s just like in the 1950’s. We need to discuss these issues and ask how people feel. These issues are not just black and white; they affect all the races.
We need to talk about diversity because our schools are ethnically diverse. As a society, we must address these issues with our students so they’ll have a better understanding of other cultures and races. I know Waverly and some other schools have Black Student Unions and/or Asian student groups, etc., but we still really know very little about each other. Since we know little about each other, people think that they can say or do anything because of what they hear in music or see on television. We need to help change that by talking to students about differences.

Another area I believe many high schools lack is a way to motivate the students that need extra help. I believe a way to motivate is to make a person feel valued. Everyone wants to feel that the work they do is worth something. Schools are not like that. Schools are for those who are average or those who are excelling. The students who are trying to improve are not recognized. The schools should give awards to students who are improving, participating, are hard workers. Kids need motivation and the best way for kids to be motivated is by their peers and their teachers and principals. I want schools to be successful and I think these are some ways where we could all be successful.

I understand now how important the connection is between students and teachers. I understand the role a teacher plays in a student’s success. I also know that kids are responsible for their own success too. But believing and encouraging a student goes a long way.
When I graduate from high school I want to major in Elementary Education.  I want to be a teacher because as a student I saw the many flaws that exist in our schools, with our teachers and how they affect students. It’s my goal to help improve these things. As a teacher I want to see my students excel. That’s what I believe is the purpose of teaching; to help students reach their potential.

Kai Brewer is 16 years old.  She is in the Class of 2009 at Waverly High School in Lansing, MI.