Letter to the editor

It was not easy for me to attend New Trier. There was no denying that I was one of few black students and even fewer black females. I knew that I was going to stand out, regardless of what I did or where I was. Discomfort was an expected state of being for me. The hallways, the classroom, the bathroom. I was a surprise to all who saw me, even those who knew me. How did a girl like me end up at a school like New Trier? I knew this was the question on everyone’s mind. But my question was always definitely “Why not?”.

I tried to ignore it, escape it, run away from the elementary discussions about race, the pressures to prove myself, the inevitable reactions I would receive from people in every corner of the school, but I couldn’t. It only ruined me to be in denial. So after much fighting, after much mental misery, after all, I decided to stand up and not just stand out.

My memories of New Trier will not be difficult to recall. For me, high school was more than a formative time of teenage exploration. No high school experience is shallow, even if you want it to be. Friend groups, temptations, Friday plans, and the crushing crush are simply background noise. There is something brewing inside the heart and mind of all high school students, no matter how average they may seem. Although my own curiosity and pride almost reduced me to a statistic, there was a story in the making that I wasn’t writing.

I was forced to succeed against the impossible, and given the grace to do so. Just when I had lost hope for a better reality, the lowest depths of sorrow ended up giving me the confidence to stand tall in a challenging environment. Without question, I could not have done this without many of New Trier’s staff and resources. Having access to social work and student-directed affinity groups was monumental to my triumph. These outlets may not have been available in another high school reality. There is a sense of gratitude that I can not shake, no matter how many difficult days I had at New Trier.

It is not a mistake that I ended up at New Trier. I am more than a questionable outlier at an affluent white institution. The walls and halls of New Trier have given me priceless wisdom and unique perspective on life, people, and stories. Everything that seemed like an obstacle was actually an opportunity. This blessing had a really good disguise, but I saw through at the right time.

Speaking of a blessing in disguise, this shocking and unexpected turn of events may be the catalyst for positive world change. It all depends on how you view it. What seems like an obstacle could be an opportunity

You’re going to make mistakes, so do all that you can to have integrity. There are going to be days when going to school feels impossible, but New Trier is still wonderful, and it needs your voice. You are not just one of thousands. You can make a big school feel small with a simple smile.

That’s my advice to the class of 2020 and every other grumpy, teen aged, creative, curious, class that attends New Trier. See you later New Trier!