Minorities at their best

The increase of diversity in America drives minority students to aspire for more

As our country continues to grow the number of minorities in America is also rapidly increasing.

Indiana University’s Kelly School of Business reported, “Between 2000 and 2010, Indiana’s minority population grew 39 percent, with the addition of 336,237 people.”

The census also revealed that Marion is the second leading county with a rapid minority growth of 40%.

Minority students are succeed and becoming leaders, when given opportunity. Just stop and take a look around Ben Davis’s halls and see for yourself.

Much of Ben Davis is comprised of minorities such as African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and other diverse ethnicities. In fact, minority students are positively influencing American society even with the barriers they may encounter from day to day.

Although you may be a minority student that feels underprivileged and on unequal playing grounds with the majority it’s imperative that you do not limit yourself. It is understandable that you may feel at a disadvantage when trying to compete with a fellow majority student. However take those disadvantages to empower yourself to aspire for more. There are people and corporations who are willing to help and invest in your future as long as they see that you have the qualities and ambition to be successful in life.

It is all about knowing where to look and reaching out to those resources. Senior minority students should especially take advantage of these resources as they prepare to tackle down the world of college. Don’t feel intimidated or afraid to ask for help because undoubtedly there are many people wanting to help a minority student like you.

Fortunately, for the last two summers I too have been able to become involved in programs that exist to help fellow minority students.

“We help top Latino high school students from across Indiana realize their educational dreams through our week-long college-prep program that allows students to experience college culture and campus life on five different campuses.” announced Project Stepping Stone (PSS) of Indiana.

It is led by Cabello Associates and has gained numerous support from successful organizations like Eli Lilly, Hill-Rom and Cummins as well as from prestigious universities like Purdue, Ball State, IUPUI, ISU and Marian.

Together, participants are informed about college and available opportunities for minority students. By doing so they are ensuring that Hispanic students don’t miss out on the wonderful college experience and also help prepare them to become the next leaders of America. This year PSS celebrated 10 years of dedication to preparing Indiana minority students.

If you are interested in taking advantage of this tremendous opportunity do not hesitate to visit www.projectsteppingstone.org for further information.

Student’s and supporter’s dedication to minority students evidently is paying off.

“Hispanic students have grown as a percentage of the overall college student population from 11 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2012,” reported the U.S Census Bureau. “Meanwhile, overall U.S. college enrollment fell 2.3 percent to 19.9 million from 2011 to 2012, reversing a trend toward increasing enrollment over the previous five years.”

African-Americans also can benefit from these types of resources.  Senior Lia Tewelde had the opportunity to participate in a summer program dedicated to preparing minority students for rigorous careers.

St. Vincent Hoosier Health Academy exposed students to different aspects and opportunities in healthcare professions. Butler University hosted the educational six week program.

“The program was compromised of Black and Hispanics who were interested in the healthcare field.” said Tewelde.

Opportunities like these are accessible to minority students who aspire to fulfill their academic and professional goals. You’re probably wondering how you can take part of these incredible opportunities. The door of opportunity is once again feverishly knocking for those willing to do something positive for themselves.

St. Vincent will be running another program similar to its previous 2013 summer program. However, this time it will be hosted at Pike High School. You could be the next participant to earn $1,200 for attending a program of your interest. Participants are expected to commit to scheduled Saturdays for approximately five months.

Although giving up some of your unproductive precious time may seem to interfere with these valuable opportunities, it is vital to consider that you can’t progress in life if you aren’t willing to put in the effort.

“Keep your eyes open and be willing to do more than those around you,” Tewelde said.

There are various ways to get involved and valued even when others may underestimate the competence of minorities.

Although America hasn’t yet fully surpassed discrimination and stereotyping, minorities are still managing to reach success. Recently, Miss New York Nina Davuluri of Indian descent was crowned Miss America 2014. Unfortunately, social media networks went chaotic with racist remarks. Some went as far as to say that her coronation was too close to 9/11; they even called her a terrorist.

Miss America, however, responded with optimism.

“I’m so happy this organization has embraced diversity,” she said, according to USA Today. “I’m thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America.”

Let us not forget that we all have come to America from different regions of the world. People who tend to make prejudice judgments often do not reflect on their ancestry nor realize that they may not be as American as they claim. It is completely acceptable to have pride in your country but also be willing to be open-minded to other cultures and ethnicities and treat them with the same respect as you would expect.  As one of the world’s largest melting pot America should be able to embrace our diversity as it has and will continue to impact our lives.

America is becoming more diverse day by day and minorities aren’t holding back. African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Indians (just to name a few) are overcoming obstacles at an astonishing rate. Barriers can be depleted to nothing as long as you as an individual possess the motivation, dedication, and perseverance to accomplish your goals.

Don’t let being labeled as a minority student defines you. Define yourself through your accomplishments, individuality and contributions to society.