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Staff and students feel underrepresented at Denali

By Cooper Afendakis, Meiru Chen, and Sophia Garcia 

Staff Writers

Many staff and students have expressed a lack of cultural representation at school. Some were hesitant to express their cultural identity mostly due to fear of judgment from other students. We interviewed a couple of students and staff on their opinion of cultural representation at school.

Around the world, culture defines many people’s lifestyles. From food, clothing, language and much more, culture represents a person’s identity. Representation of culture in school is an important part of education, so how well does Summit Denali represent culture? 

Summit Denali freshman English teacher Taylor Torres PHOTO CREDIT: Meiru Chen

Summit Denali freshman English teacher Taylor Torres explained she has been trying to incorporate culture into her curriculum. She said, “Staff can keep doing what a lot of teachers try to do and diversify curriculum and different backgrounds like books, poetry and art and represent students in the classroom.”

Resident teacher Josh Subia agreed with Torres that the staff plays a role in the cultural representation of the school, saying, “It is not on the students to make themselves represented; it should be the staff and teachers showing the representation, not students trying to fish.”

Summit Denali resident teacher Josh Subia PHOTO CREDIT: Meiru Chen

However, Subia also believes the school already has some sort of culture: “Culture, obvious classroom culture, interest into barbz. There’s a heavy pop culture here and anime culture that I’ve seen around campus like that. I think it is integrated into the things they have in common.”

Since Summit Denali lacks a cultural week, many students would like to see a culture week happening at the school. With the lack of representation, some students feel hesitant when expressing their culture. Freshman class president Chloe Duroyan said, “No, I’m not hesitant about my culture. I want a culture day.” Valeria Posada, also a freshman at Summit Denali High School, agreed with a cultural week as well.

Summit Denali freshman Chloe Duroyan PHOTO CREDIT: Chloe Duroyan

While a large majority of students and staff agree there should be a better representation of culture at school, Torres acknowledged the school’s budget constraints. Torres said, “Our school’s funding is limited. A lot of the extracurricular activities are pushed back because of money issues.” 

However, Duroyan disagreed about the financial budget saying, “No, because it doesn’t take any money to make a culture day or week so people can express their identity or culture, it doesn’t take any money.” 

Many agree that the staff should be part of the helping culture represented at school. Duroyan and Torres both believe that students should incorporate culture into the curriculum taught at school. “I feel like projects should be based on different cultures. In English, we are including black culture in our poetry project. So using the curriculum to expand culture.”

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