A few days ago, a friend, having read all the recent articles and letters about Hispanic students in the school system, asked me if I had any Latino friends at the high school. "Yes, of course I do," I said. Later, however, it got me thinking more about it. Do I really have Latino friends? Sure, I say "hi" to Latino fellow students when I see them in the hall, and occasionally we will have lunch together, but that makes them acquaintances, not true friends, it seems to me. Finally, it occurred to me how rare it is to see Latinos and Caucasians socializing outside of school. After some experience attending other high schools, I find that Park City High School students are very friendly toward one another compared to other schools, and that carries over into Latino-Caucasian relations. There are no racial tensions that I can see, for most students seem too mature or easy-going to be concerned about such superficial differences, and we do not buy into the argument that Latinos are holding the education system behind. The atmosphere between us is, in fact, very friendly for the most part. So, if PCHS is so free of racism, then shouldn’t we all be friends? Not necessarily. So why not? Sure, we come from different backgrounds, our families are quite distinct because of cultural origins, so that colors a lot about what we are, but that’s not enough to keep us apart. The real reason is the unfortunate habit of kids at PCHS and, I suspect, worldwide to form cliques. High school can be an intimidating place, so it is only natural to quickly bond together and make friends with the kids most familiar to you. There is all the more reason to do this if you are a member of an obvious minority, such as the very small 4 percent of our high school that is Latino. I know for a fact that I would, since I did when my family moved to Mexico City for a year. I quickly bonded with those who looked like me and shared a similar background. There are some who have lived in America their whole lives and wonder why ethnic minorities seem reluctant to make an attempt to fit in to the culture that they are living in. Fitting in is not as easy as it sounds. Being a minority can be a strange experience and it is often much more comfortable to associate with people from your own culture rather than the foreign one that you are living in. I do not know how we can get rid of the mentality that makes us form cliques in high school, but I do know that if we did get rid of them, we would erase the separate groups ofLatinos and Caucasians which many mistake for racism. Which I am happy to say is absent at PCHS. What do you think? Students, The Park Record has its own blog for students to shout out how the feel about "Student to Student" or any other topic. Join the cyber-realm today at prstudentblog.blogspot.com.
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Gretchen Milliken started as the Park City planning director at the beginning of February. Like many others in the community, she sees the amount of traffic as a challenge.