Embracing color in a black and white world

From a young age, I was surrounded by the same people—predominately white bigwigs, born with silver spoons in their mouths. While my family was classified under this breed, neither of my parents exemplified an entitled attitude, my mother having grown up with immigrant parents and my father having to share everything between five siblings. Still, most people in my life shared the exact same thoughts and values, carbon copies of an upper-class entity.

    My grade school personified this exclusive attitude. Filled with the aristocratic kids of Fairlawn, everyone shared similar opinions simply because they never knew anything other than affluence. Being a dark-haired and olive-skinned female in a school of fair-skinned blondes, I immediately noticed the bubble enclosing St. Hilary School from the outside world— unenlightened ignorance and privilege.

    Upon graduation, I never felt disheartened in leaving St. Hilary. I was tired of the school’s uniformity, yearning for a change in something, anything. And that’s exactly what Archbishop Hoban brought me.

    I remember walking through the halls and seeing color— black, white, brown, olive, all mixed together to make the Knights’ navy and gold. Together we stood, united under our code of honor: stay true to you. This phrase meant nothing to me as a freshman, and it was not until one March weekend in my junior year that I fully understood it.

    Spes Unica changed my outlook on life. A retreat weekend in the spirit of the Holy Cross Congregation, it highlighted true diversity and inclusion for me. Before this weekend, I was friendly to all, yet rarely stepped outside the bounds of my inner-circle, a place where I felt comfortable. After listening to the struggles and hardships of others, I erased the boundary I created for myself and truly listened to every thought I encountered. I ignored the urge within me to disregard comments simply because they did not align with what I was taught—I merely listened, something which I believe the world needs more than ever.

    Through Spes Unica, I realized that the viewpoints of those privileged dignitaries and St. Hilary duplicates were not the only ones in the world. The monotony I felt dissipated, and I was thrown into a world of new objectives and visions. I saw in brilliant color, embracing the brightness and glaring hope I found in people’s differences. Spes truly showed me how wonderful it is to be different, to be open and to be your own person. After the eye-opening weekend, I made it my mission to uphold an inclusive outlook on all that I do.

    By taking part in Spes, my views on diversity increased substantially and I tied these new revelations back to a familiar motto—staying true to yourself. I realized that no other person’s thoughts could ever be my own—Spes taught me the true meaning of this sacred creed of Hoban.This mantra reminds me to acknowledge who I am and what I stand for; that I am not cemented to any one else’s beliefs. That I am a part of a new culture that celebrates diversity and that by being myself, I can inspire others to do the same. That not everything is black and white, that we live in a world of color meant to be enhanced.