Diverse student body no
reason to shun Central High
Point of View by Laura E. Doty
As a sophomore at Duluth Central High School, I am
concerned about some of the negative attitudes that have surfaced during
the recent school redistricting and school closing debates.
In those debates some people have implied, while others
directly have said, that they don't want to have their children go to
school with "those people.'' While there are legitimate reasons
expressed for not wanting to close schools or to redistrict, opposition to
going to school with "those people'' should not be one of them.
In my experience, "those people'' (when referring
to Central students) means kids who study to their ability, teachers who
are dedicated and inspiring, and a student body that is just like those at
East and Denfeld high schools -- only more diverse. Sadly, some have used
the term "those people'' to slam against Central students
characterizing them as poor, druggies, hoodlums, dirty kids and those who
live in the "sticks.'' This is not an accurate or fair
characterization of who we are.
It is true that not all Central students drive expensive
cars, wear the latest in fashions or live in the biggest houses; we are
still just the same on the inside as everyone else. I live in the East
End, but I made the decision to follow the footsteps of my two older
sisters and attend Central High. Part of the reason was that I wanted to
experience the diversity that is available only at Central.
The experience has given me the opportunity to be with a
variety of people, teaching me many lessons and giving me a broader view
and better insight on what to expect when I enter the "real world''
I admit I was at first apprehensive about going to
Central, but not because I was going to be with "those people.'' It
was because I didn't really know anyone at Central, as most of my friends
from middle school went to East. Beyond the fear of entering a big, new
high school, I was also afraid that I would not be accepted because I was
from the East district.
However, I found these to be unfounded concerns. I was
totally accepted and welcomed at the school. Even in my first weekend, I
was involved in an activity with new friends. People at Central reached
out to me and accepted me for who I am, not for where I lived. I now have
friends who are of all different races, African-American, Puerto Rican,
Asian, Hispanic, American Indian and Caucasian. Getting to know them has
been an awesome experience and has helped me to become a more well-rounded
and accepting person.
I have had friends from East or Denfeld say to me that
they would not want to go to Central because they believe, because of its
diversity, that Central is not safe. When I hear this, I get really upset.
Yes, there are problems at Central High School, but really not any
different from those at other high schools in Duluth -- except that they
are more openly talked about and dealt with at Central.
I invite parents and students from other high schools in
town to please come to Central and tour our building during any given
school day. I would love to have them see what it is really like rather
than rely on their assumptions. There really is no need to worry about
safety. Most of us at Central have grown to accept the diversity of people
and there wouldn't be any ridicule or judgment of visitors when they come.
We have wonderful kids in our school that are led by a
great principal and assistant principal, excellent diversity leaders, and
a terrific staff that is more than willing to help anyone who might fear
being in our school. Our staff makes it a priority to help everyone feel
comfortable and safe.
Central is a safe place that encourages diverse
opinions, open celebration of ethnicity, equality regardless of economic
status, and acceptance of diverse religions, race and political
philosophies. Central is a good place to prepare students for life.
I really enjoy going to Central and can't imagine myself
going elsewhere. It appears as though, with the new boundary lines, I will
be in the Central district; and I am happy I will be able to remain there
until I graduate. East and Denfeld are good schools, too. What saddens me,
though, is that Central has so much to offer but is often given a negative
My suggestion to those students who might end up
attending Central as a result of the boundary changes is to give Central a
chance. Don't believe everything you hear about us. Check us out -- it
won't take you long to realize that Central is an excellent school that
goes beyond doing well with the "Three R's'' by offering valuable
lessons in diversity. Duluth is one community, and people have the same
needs and deserve the same respect from one end of our town to the other.
I hope the ugliness of "classism'' can be eliminated in the future
debate that takes place regarding our education.
Doty, a resident of the East High School area, is a
sophomore at Central High School.
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