Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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Diversity blooms, and IC schools are helping

On leap day, Feb. 29, a headline in The Daily Iowancaught my eye: "Slowly, diversity blooms in Iowa City".

That is so true. We have, in the past few years, had a change in the "color" of Iowa City. We have people from other communities (other countries, other states, other cities) who have moved in that change our perception of "who we are" as a community. We are blooming, and that brings with it wonderful opportunities and the requisite problems that come with change.

I spend a lot of time with students at different schools as a substitute teacher in the Iowa City School District. I have seen the problems, but the progress is more obvious to me. We have always had students in Iowa City who take responsibility for their education with an expectation that they will go to a college of some sort. We have students who are newer to the educational process who are beginning to understand that they, too, can go to college. They are becoming, through their own efforts as well as those of their teachers and mentors, a thriving part of our community. These students are studying, taking part in activities, volunteering, working, and they are meeting the expectations of the community as well as exceeding their own previous expectations.

MYEP Fas Trac works with students, both from Iowa City and students new to the area who have a desire to achieve academic success, be contributing members of their community, and to prepare for college.

One hundred percent of seniors in the program have gone to college since its inception. Six seniors are going to college this year after being a part of Fas Trac. Twenty-eight of 33 students who started college since 2007 are still in college.

Forty-five students have earned the right to leave March 10 on a tour of important civil-rights sites as well as visiting six historically black colleges and universities.

We can be proud of these students and the contribution that they are making in Iowa City and the Corridor. We can be the community that supports all of our students with greater awareness of what is being accomplished and with greater awareness that our support is desired.

Tonya Peeples, a professor of chemical and biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa, said it this way in the DI on Feb. 29. "A perfectly diverse Iowa City would look like … the partnership between the University of Iowa and the Iowa City community and even the state of Iowa to create an inclusive environment where people can be accepted and successful.'"

I hope we can be that community.

Leora Houghton

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