Friday, November 21, 2008

Privilege

Yesterday I spent the day in Oakland... first at a community college and then at a public high school in downtown Oakland.

I gave this presentation to these students who paid attention to me from the minute I opened my mouth... they were engaging, interested, caring and seemingly motivated. They asked great questions- and a few even asked about what it takes to transfer to UCLA (which is great that they're considering a community college).

At the end of the presentation the lead counselor stood up, thanked me profusely and then said the most heartbreaking thing I've heard in a long time, "You guys are so lucky to have Ms. Eversmann here... schools like UCLA don't visit schools like ours." All the kids nodded and clapped and then many of them came up and shook my hands afterwards- as if I had done them a huge favor... when in reality, I was just doing my job. It breaks my heart to think that there are probably lots of other schools like this one who get ignored by top tier PUBLIC institutions... and that's not right. Everyone deserves a shot at these schools... and maybe if more schools would make an effort to get out to these inner city schools we wouldn't be faced with problems of lack of diversity on college campuses- of course these kids don't want to come to our schools... we don't make them feel welcomed.

So it was a real eye opener for me... and today as I head off to a few very privileged, well funded public schools in the bay area I can only pray that these kids recognize the privileges that come with simple things like living in the "right" school district.

3 comments:

T- said...

Wow. That's sad. I'm glad you were there to talk to them!

Theresa said...

Oh my gosh, that makes me sad! Lucky??? Every school should have a someone come out, not matter where the school is. Every one has potential, and I hope that other colleges start making stops to these schools too.

Catie said...

the sad thing is...most of the kids take it for granted. I saw this with my americorps program last year. the kids at my school were so grateful to have my program there, and I was always busy helping them. across town at the nicest school in the district, they ignored my counterpart.

I could go on, but I won't. I am impressed with the accepting attitude of the kids you talked to, it's usually assumed that so many of them won't act that way, and they almost ALWAYS surprise their detractors. KWIM?