Acceptance of Diversity
By: Molly Vu, FCHS
High schoolers are no strangers to bullying—in most cases, it's been around since elementary school. In an area as diverse as Northern Virginia, however, it's a different story. Because Fairfax County students come from so many backgrounds, it is easy to assume that bullying is even more prevalent; the reality is that growing up in a diverse environment can teach acceptance and open-mindedness from an early age. Of course, keeping that mindset intact is not so easy as children get older and are exposed to the harsh social pressures of middle and high school. But celebrating diversity in (and outside of) school helps to emphasize the value of acceptance.
Falls Church High School (FCHS) is a wonderful example of acceptance. Recognized as one of the most diverse high schools in Fairfax County, FCHS consistently appreciates its students' wide range of backgrounds. Every year, FCHS hosts a cultural showcase called Heritage Night. It includes an ethnic fashion show, singing and dancing, and the opportunity to sample homemade dishes from around the world. FCHS is also home to the Muslim Student Association; non-Muslim students and community members can attend meetings where they are invited to ask questions about Islam.
It is this mindset of encouragement and open communication that makes Falls Church such a strong community. They not only embrace racial and ethnic differences, but they appreciate students with physical disabilities just as much. FCHS's Podsters are always included in activities. The Jaguar Way states, "This is who we are, even when no one is watching." Falls Church High School's dedication to upholding that motto is what defines Falls Church HS. While diversity can present challenges, especially in a high school setting, the best way to make students feel welcome and not bullied is to be inclusive and to be willing to listen. Falls Church High School sets a tone that all of Fairfax County should emulate.
(Students are welcome to serve their community service hours working with the Annandale Chamber of Commerce at events such as The Annandale Parade, The Hospital Bed Race, and National Night Out. Just contact the Chamber office at:
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.)
Falls Church High School
7521 Jaguar Trail
Falls Church, VA 22044
(Students who reside on the north side of Annandale attend Falls Church High School)