When I think about Hollywood Schoolhouse, one of the nouns that quickly comes to my mind is the word “diversity”. On any given day, one has to merely glance at the different faces amongst students and faculty members to see why HSH takes so much pride in highlighting differences in cultures and backgrounds. With diversity embedded in the curriculum and celebrations, members of the community are further enriched by the exposure of cultures on a daily basis.
The reason why I have felt at home in my 22+ years at HSH is because I have been able to share my unique culture, childhood, and experiences with my peers and students. I was born in Paris, and am of Armenian descent. My parents are Persian Armenian, which means that they are part of the Armenian community and diaspora that lived and thrived in Iran. I split my early years between Paris and Tehran, and in the process learned French, Armenian, and Farsi. By the time I moved to the United States, English became my fourth language, and I had lived on three continents before turning twelve. My childhood consisted of being open to new cultures, witnessing the beauties of everyday French life to the atrocities of war in Iran. Later on in my life, my bench press competitions allowed me to travel all over the US and the world, where I took a front-row seat to many nuances of diverse customs.
I take all these experiences with me into the classroom, where I have been called a walking, talking history book because of my countless firsthand stories. I thank Hollywood Schoolhouse for allowing my classroom to serve as a platform for sharing a piece of my world and to reinforce the importance and magnitude of diversity in our community.
—Narbé Mansourian, Fifth/Sixth Grade Teacher
Diversity means a lot to me. I like my school because we have a diverse community. Diversity means people from different backgrounds and different places. It can also mean people with different opinions and preferences. I come from a diverse background, as my grandpa was born in Iraq and immigrated to the U.S. through Ellis Island in New York. I think diversity is important because it gives me a chance to learn and be more creative. Creativity comes from seeing and being inspired by different people and places from all over the world. Diversity is a source of creativity.
—Brit Chokachi, Sixth Grade Student
Diversity is like the sun.
When the sun is shining, I can see and appreciate all the different colors.
When the sun is shining, things grow.
When the sun is shining, birds sing.
When the sun is shining, I am happier.
That is what diversity means to me.
—Joey Kang, Sixth Grade Student
To me, diversity means many different cultures, religions, and ethnicities coming together. Our Sixth Grade class has people from all kinds of different backgrounds. It is really cool because sometimes we get to learn about each other.
For example, we all say hello in different ways. I’d like to share the way my grandparents say hello to me (as-salamu-alaikum), and the way I say (wa alaikum s-salam) back. We all have special greetings that we use.
Another example that I would like to share is from this summer. I went on an adventure to Belgium. I got to try different kinds of foods. I learned about things in Paris, Spain, Sweden, and London. After I went to all of these places, I learned that with diversity you can learn more about the whole world. This is why I think diversity is a good thing.
—Jabril Abdul-Jabbaar, Sixth Grade Student