Tuesday, December 19, 2000

While they would like to imagine a multiethnic showdown in the schools, if they took time to visit, they might find something more like a multiethnic showplace.

The student body president at Storm Lake High School is member of what outsiders consider a "minority," but to students here, he's just a great kid who will do a good job for all students.

This season, the school is working on a kiosk to go right in the middle of the building, designed to celebrate students from all different origins, with a big map to illustrate all of the areas of the world they represent.

That's a key word there, "celebrate." The principal uses it, we notice, and so do the teachers and the kids. They aren't just trying to accommodate diversity, struggle with diversity or live with diversity, they are using it as a tool of pride and education.

There is a promising new peer mediation program, and students are leading the way with emerging leadership training efforts, Diversity Day and more.

We think administration, staff and of course, the kids, deserve a lot of credit at Storm Lake High School and Storm Lake Middle School.

As quickly as ethnic diversity came upon Storm Lake, it could have been easy to develop into a separatist attitude, distrust and tension. We have had the usual challenges that all growing and changing districts face, but overwhelmingly, the good has outweighed the bad in the evolution process.

We have rich, colorful, diverse, understanding schools.

When they put up that new "Home of the Tornadoes" entry, it will be in the green and white colors of the school, but it could just as easily be in all the wonderful shades of the human rainbow. We are proud that our community has schools that are so welcoming and aware.

That truth deserves a little ink, too..