Latinos have a say too

Latinos+have+a+say+too

By Lily Adler , Business Manager

The summer before my freshman year, I was scared to start in the fall just like every other student in the class of 2016. I was scared for harder classes, new friends and more homework, but mostly I was scared of fitting in.

From word of mouth, I knew the school population consisted of mostly white students. Hearing this, I wanted to go to Fremont High School. I knew that most of the student body there was made up of Latinos. Being Latina, I was afraid of standing out and being looked down upon by students of other nationalities. I did not want other students, or administration for that matter, to give me a harder time for being different.

According to Dataquest, a website designed for school statistics, 32 percent of the total 2,406 students making up the student body at HHS is white, whereas only 18 percent of the students are Hispanic. Likewise, the student body is filled with diversity and acceptance of such.

Throughout my high school career, I have learned to appreciate the diversity this school has, despite what the statistics show. Students, administration and staff have demonstrated and shown appreciation for the diversity. Diversity is an obvious quality the school has. No segregation, no racism, but a small amount of miscommunication between the student body and admin.

In the past, admin has struggled with understanding what students want. For example, cancelling senior walk-in two years ago stirred up a large problem between the students and admin, as well as the rewriting of the dress code in 2014. To prevent repetition of these events, Principal Greg Giglio and the rest of admin decided to open their arms to student suggestions and listen to what the school wants.

Now, I am not saying that admin discriminates against students of other minorities in anyway, but admin does fail to listen to the input of other students that are not the majority.

After sitting in one of Giglio’s newfound advisory committee meetings, I noticed a variety of races: white, African American, Asian, but not one Latino. Seeing this gave me a feeling of underrepresentation.

Everyone has a different view on everything. All races should be taken into consideration. I experienced something during my freshman year that has haunted me for years. I was in the lunch line when one of the two students in front of me asked the other where she wanted to sit for lunch. Her reply was, “Not in the cafeteria because that is where all the Mexicans sit.” Since that day, I have never felt more hatred or disgust from students. This idea brings out the idea that people fear that Latino students are ones to fear from appearance and stereotypes, rather than actual personal experience or getting to know the person.

Latino stereotypes depict us as lazy, uneducated, having little to no money at times and assume we are all part of gangs. That is a big problem. Not all Latinos are this way. HHS is located in the heart of the Silicon Valley, surrounded by wealthy cities like Los Altos, Cupertino, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale. The student body is comprised of students from these wealthier cities, but the income gap is quite evident and is often forgotten.

Growing up in the middle of Sunnyvale between the “ghetto” and “rich” parts, my life has created some stereotypes towards me as well. Being from a low-income family, it is hard for me to pay student fees and take part in certain activities on campus. When playing a sport, I cannot afford to have all the brand-new equipment or team apparel like the rest of my teammates.

It was not until now, my senior year of high school, that I find out the school offered scholarships for a variety of things on campus. I could have had that jacket with my name on it, or brand-new cleats if I had known. To help students like me who want the new things, admin should promote these opportunities to all low-income students and students in general.

Latino parents should also have the opportunity to give more input to the school. Some parents work late hours or are not quite aware of what goes on at school. There are several events and programs parents would surely want their student to be a part of if they knew about them. Parents should be given more information and support to see what actually goes on to help their student. If Latino parents were encouraged or where to get involved, they would have more of an opportunity to get involved and give Latino’s more of a say of what goes on on campus.

Latino students have so much potential to be successful, despite what stereotypes say. But in order to do so, we need a say, we need to put in input and we need support from admin too. We may be a small population, but we are students like everyone else and deserve a say too.