At Mountain View High School, our policy for open access to Advanced Placement (AP) classes is widely recognized for fostering equal opportunity. AP classes enable students to gain the experience of taking a college level course while still enrolled in high school. MVHS is known for its diverse campus and acceptance of others. Still, minorities on campus are segregated because of their ethnicity, race or culture.
Odalys Vallejo is a MVHS senior enrolled in AP Environmental Science and has taken several AP courses throughout her years at MVHS. With an after-school job and parents who work long hours, Vallejo takes on a lot of responsibility.
“I have to work twice as hard as everyone else…I will work 25 hours a day if I have to,” Vallejo said.
This dedication and persistence tends to go unrecognized by classmates. Although many do not intentionally exclude others, preconceived judgements can have a severe impact.
“From the start, I felt really out of place and [people]were looking at me like I should have been in a regular class,” Vallejo said.
According to the New York Times, the number of African American students taking A.P. exams in 2010 has more than tripled since 2001. The number of Hispanics who took the AP exam has risen from 54,308 in 2002 to 169,521 in 2012. Despite this increasing improvement, students at MVHS do not feel as though they are treated equally in the classroom.
MVHS Sophomore Ruby Ochoa has witnessed similar experiences of her classmates.
“I don’t feel separate but I feel uncomfortable because other people are feeling uncomfortable,” Ochoa said.
Mountain View High school is comprised of a student body which is 50% white. This could be a contributing factor to the feeling of exclusion that is present on campus.
“There are times where I am in class [and]I do feel excluded because I am Mexican in an AP class but it doesn’t affect [me]…I’ve learned to deal with it,” sophomore Daniel Ruiz said.
While the faculty at MVHS is very supportive and understanding of students who have after-school commitments, more can be done to reach out to other social groups and take advantage of the diversity present on campus.
“Your mission is to strive for the best you can do. Forget about the ones that hold you back,” Ruiz said.