public school + transcending average to extraordinary : SNC is having a contest!


:: the framework ::                

I was a product of public school. As a teenager growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, my parents thought it would be a good experience for me to attend an inner city middle school in East Anchorage. Attending Clark Junior High would force me to leave all my friends behind, our duplex bordered two districts; my familiar zone which was predominately white, while the other was a melting pot of multi-culture, multi-ethnicity and a large military population – white, black, Alaska Native, Asian and a few Hispanic students, all of whom for the most part, were low to lower income. In the 70’s, the classes were finitely segmented.

Both of my parents came from humble and hard working beginnings; my Father’s family was composed of strong South Dakota and Pacific Northwest stock. My Mom born in Honolulu was raised in Kalihi, on the Island of Oahu. Her neighborhood which is a couple of miles or so from the airport, may be considered the “the projects” today- to me it was heaven, plumerias, shrimp chips and rainbow popsicles.  After graduating from Kamehameha High School, my Mom moved to Washington State.  My parents met in Everett, Washington while attending Junior College, they fell in love and the rest they say is history.

   Growing up mixed race, I always identified with all aspects of my heritage; but understandably, because of the fact that I look Caucasian, it was often times disregarded and I was not always accepted as anything, other than white.

Rewind to Clark Junior High, East Anchorage circa 1974, I had a handful of white friends – three in particular, that saved my butt on a few occasions. My experience in middle school, at least for the first year, was less about academia and more about dodging getting my *@# kicked. The kids were tough; some just not having me… nothin’ personal.  I would cringe at the fights I’d witness in the hallways, at lunch and after school…I thanked my lucky stars I managed not to be on the receiving end. With the best of intentions my parents wanted me exposed to racial diversity and some realness; a childhood better than, but more in line with, their experience.  Unfortunately for me, my three “best friends”, weren’t always available to run interference.  I devised a plan to win the student body of Clark Junior High over, one-at-a-time. If I earned their trust, with luck and skill, I’d create an army of protectors for this bony, white skinned girl.  And protected me they did, I had MY tribe.  

  My friendships were racially defined and divided, I found myself running from group to group. As a teenager it proved exhausting. My teenage years were more focused on navigating a social system and finding “my place”.   “Lazy”, “average”, “but nice” were commonly used adjectives to describe me by my teachers... swell.

    Does any of this resonate with you, your children or your students?

These experiences uniquely shape our world views, our scope + perspective and life lens. If lessons are learned, they arm us with resilience: instilling qualities of empathy and compassion not only for others, but for ourselves. Qualities that serve us as human + spiritual beings.

    Regardless of race, perceived physical perfection (or lack thereof) and sexual orientation we at times, don’t cut ourselves or anyone else, slack.  As parents, educators and civic supporters the “it takes a village” approach should be the rule, not the exception.

SEE NO COLOR Mentor or Volunteer With A Child Contest! –  there will be 5 winners.

The lucky winners will get a See No Color Signature T-Shirt. WOW!

         I know many of you volunteer + I know how busy you are, trust me. Here’s how it works: Volunteer on behalf of a public or private school or youth focused non-profit organization that supports youth academically, or provides critical services- such as food, shelter and clothing for youth. Volunteer 1-2 hours. Your time can make a huge difference + just may get a “shout out”! Use the contact form on my site.  Deadline is October 21st, 2011. I will announce the winners on October 26th. HAVE FUN! *recent (1-2 weeks ago) volunteer work will qualify.