Board of Education | Reflections: SPHS – Where Cultural and Racial Diversity is Valued

Hanwul Choi serves as the student board member on the South Pasadena Unified School District’s Board of Education, representing South Pasadena High School. During monthly board meetings the senior reflects on issues on the SPHS campus. The following is what he had to say in October

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | SPUSD Board of Education. Student Board Member, Hanwul Choi (Foreground, R)

By Hanwul Choi, Student Board Member, SPUSD

For today’s reflection, I would like to reflect on the portion that states, “The South Pasadena Unified School District will provide formative experiences that develop the physical, social, emotional, ethical, linguistic, creative and cognitive pathways of learning.

For the past three years, the SPHS library staff and a small team of teachers, students and parents have hosted a school wide summer reading initiative where every student at SPHS were given a book to read over the summer.

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For this past summer, the book that the students read was called “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, a novel about the importance of voice within in a racially polarized society. To follow up with our reading, an assembly with two award winning poets of color, Aleysa Wise and Matthew Hernandez, was held where they shared powerful pieces that reflected their own experiences with prejudice in the world.

Through listening to their poems, many students, including myself, were reminded of how fortunate we were to be living in a community and environment where cultural and racial diversity is valued.

However, we were also reminded of the years-old prejudice and discrimination that still exists in our country, and our work as a generation to continue the fight against this oppression. We believe that as students, it is important for us to learn and engage with relevant issues and topics that are problems for our future.

The facilitation of discussion and exposure to topics such as climate change, racism, and gender inclusivity allow students to develop social, emotional, and ethical learning which will prepare us for our lives after high school. By creating safe classroom settings where students can express their ideas and viewpoints, we can better understand the struggles of people from different cultures, backgrounds, and ideologies.

I hope that the SPUSD will continue to foster an environment where discussion is encouraged, and student engagement with the world is valued.