FOR YEARS, Utah has been known as a predominantly white state. According to the worldpopulationreview.com website, 86.43% of Utahns are white, while the remaining 14% is a mix of Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders.
With that said, it can be difficult to come across a school in Utah that is diverse in its student population. Personally, I’ve been to three different high schools in the three years I’ve been in high school. Every single school was a different experience. The teaching, students, and atmosphere are completely distinct from each other.
A big part of that contrast is based on the city and area the school is located. When I walked into one of these schools, I either felt safe or felt an instant rush of anxiety. Nowadays, it’s easier to express yourself and be who you are, but not at Copper Hills High.
Copper Hills was one of the worst schools I have ever attended. As someone who has anxiety, the thought of going to school would wear me out completely. Although I don’t want to bash other schools, I do want to highlight things that made me personally feel more or less comfortable during my experiences there. The main thing that is important to me is diversity.
Let’s start with the first thing I noticed: the halls. I paid attention to the topics of discussions and the amount of white and white-washed people in the halls. It was almost like many students were scared to be themselves. Personally, I was horrified to express myself because the school had judgment written all over it. Not to mention, most of the students were stuck up and just rude.
Now, let’s get into the demographics. According to the schooldigger.com website, 67.6% of the school is White, 22.3% is Hispanic, and only 1.2% are African American. According to the Niche.com website, Copper Hills is #56 in the most diverse schools in Utah.
One thing that always stood out to me was the number of students in the LGBTQ+ community that were scared to come out due to the environment and religious influence. Pronouns and sexualities seemed never to be acknowledged like they were at other schools, and it was so hard to make friends because almost everyone didn’t believe in your personal morals.
On the other hand, West High is the #1 most diverse school in Utah. 44% of the student are Hispanic, 35% are White, 5% are African American, and 4% are two or more races. Right away, I noticed a huge difference in the diversity.
If you ever attend West, you can physically feel that difference as well. I transferred to West High from Copper Hills in April of 2021. As I was in the transfer process, I would walk in and notice, almost immediately, the difference in students and staff. The halls were more diverse, as well as the classrooms. The school encouraged you to be yourself and to speak up about social issues.
I was on the drill team for a portion of the year, and that was one of the most diverse drill teams in Utah. At Copper Hills, the drill team was all blondes — it was challenging to build up the courage to be the only Latina on the team. Everyone at West was very inclusive, and I could generally be whoever I wanted to be. On the other hand, the drill team at Granger is comprised of more ethnically diverse talent.
At Granger, there is a vast majority of racial and ethnic identities, countless number of LGBTQ+ students, and less judgement. In the halls and classrooms, you hear an incredible variety in the languages, unlike other schools.
60% of the students are Hispanic, 21% are white, and 4.3% are African American. Granger is the #7 most diverse school in Utah.
I’ve been at Granger for about a month, and I’ve already built an incredible amount of confidence. When I walk into school, the anxiety lifts off my mind and I’m instantly motivated to talk to more people.
Ultimately the people in all these schools affected my confidence and mental health in differing ways. For me, diversity in a school’s student body made the most difference for me in terms of my confidence and ability to make friends.