A Letter To My Public School

A Letter To My Public School

Thank you for all that you did for me.

I attended public school throughout my elementary, middle school, and high school career. I stayed in the same school district. Being small, we all formed relationships not only with our classmates, but with the teachers and associates within our buildings. So today I write to the teachers and associates of my public school system to say thank you. Thank you for helping to make me who I am today.

Thank you to the teachers who taught with passion. There is no doubt that all of you loved the subject you taught. For my elementary teachers who taught all subjects, you could see the passion you had for children. You only wanted to help us be successful. Yes, we tried you patience multiple times, but never once did you give up on us. You taught us how to earn our grades. And I can't thank you enough for that.

Thank you to the associates that helped wherever they were needed. The ones who came and helped with math homework, library check out, watching us at lunch and recess, and occasionally subbed for a period if a teacher needed to step away. You did so much for us behind the scenes, and we never even took the time to thank you. I know it's late, but thank you for everything you did.

Thank you to the school nurse who helped us get through the day. I saw my school nurse more often than most of the kids at my school, and let me tell you, it takes a special kind of person to do that job. You took care of us, showed us kindness and love, but when it came down to it you gave us the "tough love" treatment and sent us back to class.

Thank you to the janitors for picking up after us. We tried to be as neat as we could be, but sometimes we just didn't do as well as others. For cleaning up the puke in the hallway, for mopping up the water we brought in with us from a snowy day, thank you. And I'm sorry for any extreme mud tracks that came through because of me.

Thank you to our principals. You helped the school run and you enforced the rules. While I rarely agreed with your decisions or what you would or would not handle as I got older, you only wanted what was best for your school. So, thank you.

Thank you to our lunch ladies for doing the best they could with what they had. We all know school lunch programs are seriously underfunded, but you tried the best you could to give us something good to eat. You even take the time to remember that you don't want gravy on your potatoes, or that you don't want cheese in your chili. You are amazing people. You don't get nearly enough credit for the work that you do.

Thank you to our bus drivers for getting us safely to and from school. For the times you gave us candy before a break. For the times you turned up the radio or changed the station when we asked. For the early morning pick ups and the late night drop offs. Thank you for all that you did.

Last but not least I need to say thank you to our school secretaries. The ones that know a parent's voice over the phone. The ones that ask how grandma and grandpa are doing. And especially the ones that call you to the office during open house when you are no longer in that building. It is no secret that you really do run the school. You take care of more than just the things in your job description. Thank you for making school a place that feels safe and sound. Because without you we know that our lives would be in utter chaos.

Our public school workers deserve a huge thank you. They do not deserve the treatment they have been getting. I loved my public school experience overall. I knew my teachers cared. My secretary knew me by name, and always asked how my family was. Our public schools hold the real heroes to our nation. And we need to start treating them as such.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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No, A Colored Student Did Not 'Steal Your Spot,' They Worked Hard To Get Here

I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"


Real talk, this whole "they're stealing our resources!" thing has to stop.

It ranges from welfare to acceptance letters into prestigious universities. People (and by people, I'm referring to those who identify as white) have made the assumption that they are having their opportunities stolen by people of color. That's ridiculous.

I love my university. I love the people at my university. However, when I sit in a classroom and look around at my colleagues, the majority of them are white. Of course, there are some classes that are filled with more people of color, but for the most part, they're predominantly white. So, let's say that out of a classroom of 30 students, only 7 identify as people of color.

In what world can somebody make the argument that those 7 students are stealing the spot of a white student? I don't think people realize how hard those 7 students had to work just to be in the same spot as their white counterparts.

Let me use my experience: I am a Latina woman who is attending university on a full-ride scholarship. I don't always tell people about this, because I don't feel like being asked, "wow, what did you do to get that?!" A lot. I keep hearing this ignorant question of, "How come illegal immigrants can get scholarships, but I can't?"

First off, those "illegal immigrants" you're bashing, don't even qualify for financial aid. They don't qualify for most scholarships, actually. Second, have you considered that maybe, that "illegal immigrant" worked hard in and outside of school to earn their scholarship? I received my full-ride scholarship on the basis of my GPA, but also because I am a lower-class woman of color and was selected because I am disproportionately affected by poverty and access to a quality education.

So, this scholarship was literally created because there is an understanding that minorities don't have the same access to education as our white counterparts. It's not a handout though, I had to work hard to get the money that I have now. When white students get scholarships, it's not a handout but when you're Latina like me, apparently it is.

This way of viewing minorities and their education is damaging, and further discourages these people from receiving a quality education. We didn't steal anybody's spot, we had to work to get where we are, twice as hard as our white colleagues that are not discriminated against on a daily basis.

Instead of tearing down students of color because you didn't get a scholarship, why not criticize the American education system instead? It's not our fault tuition is $40k a year, and we have no reason to apologize for existing in a space that is predominantly white.

To students of color: you worked hard to get where you are, and I am proud of you. To white students: I'm proud of you too. We all worked hard to get to where we are now, let's lift each other up, not put each other down.

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