top of page

Stream of Consciousness with a Dash of References

Growing up, my educational background seemed odd to my classmates. They couldn’t understand how I knew things they didn’t, and why --with my skin being so dark-- I could speak fluent Spanish. My high school was in the heart of Kansas City, Kansas’s inner-city. I was a foreigner; one who constantly needed to prove one’s self culturally and academically. These challenges have shaped the way I view myself as a student and as a person.

Before attending high school in KC, I had moved from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where I attended private school. There were many private schools in Puerto Rico, but SESO (Sociedad educacional del suroeste/Southwestern Educational Society) was one of the top schools on the island. At this school, we were required to provide our own textbooks as well as the not-so-flattering school uniform. The atmosphere there was very competitive, especially since many of our parents were shoveling out over $400 a month so we could attend. This school instilled in me the importance of academia, working hard and the principle of meritocracy. These skills did not necessarily translate well for me socially once I entered high school.

I attended Washington High School from 2001 to 2005. Those four years helped me see disparity in wealth in my own personal life very clearly for the first time. While there was no shortage of these experiences while I was young, I lacked the critical thinking to really understand and question them. Washington High School was built in 1934; the corner stone is still visible even after the hundreds of thousands of dollars of useless renovations. During my time there, I never rode the bus. This due largely to the fact that transportation had been cut for students who lived less than three miles from the school and I lived almost 2.5 miles away. I remember getting the letter that the school districts budget had been cut by $20 million dollars while the neighboring affluent county, Johnson County, were voting whether or not to add more soccer fields. How could they vote on, I thought, such a trivial topic when ther