Scholar Jessica on Drama

McLean County Diversity Project   c/o Jeffrey A. Schwartz   PO Box 58   Downs, IL  61736

From Former Scholar Manish

All content is ©Copyright 2010 McLean County Diversity Project

The following was written last year by Senior Scholar Manish.  We are very proud of what Scholar Manish accomplished last year.

All the years that I have spent in the McLean County Diversity Project have defined me as a person.

I still, to this day, remember my first trip to the Smoky Mountains. I was sitting in the discussion room and working with my group; our assignment was to draw a map of our town on a piece of paper. As my team members and I started working on this map, it was mind blowing to see that each of us had different ideas and different perspectives of a town that we had all been living in for most of our lives.

As I glanced around, I noticed that the maps of other groups had varied greatly from ours. This exercise was one of the first moments in my life that I realized the amount of diversity that existed all around me. Little did I know, that I had only had scratched the surface of diversity.

From my rookie year in the Smoky Mountains to this year’s upcoming trip I have learned more than I ever knew possible. I have learned more about myself, and also about the world around me. Much of my learning has been a result of the discussions that I, the scholars, and team leaders have had.

Even though it has been more than a year since the Project’s trip to Wyoming, I can still remember the night discussions that we had. Regardless of the fact that it was almost midnight and all the scholars and team leaders were exhausted from riding horses over mountains, I vividly remember having some of the most energetic and thought provoking discussions during those nights.

The new ideas and perspectives that everyone brought into the conversations made me question and analyze my own ideas and perspectives. Because these discussions had made me question my long held beliefs about diversity, I was able to have a stronger understanding and appreciation of the diversity around me. Discussions such as the ones that I had in Wyoming have opened doors into worlds that I had never seen before.

It is because of the McLean County Diversity Project that I know some of the most important people in my life. The friends that I have made during my years in the project have become some of my best friends. I have always been able to count on my friends from the project to listen to my ideas and beliefs, since we shared an open minded attitude toward diversity. The friends that I have in the project have made it a more meaningful experience since I have been able to grow and mature alongside them.

For me this project has been one of the highlights of my young life. As I mature I will be forever be reminded of the people and the ideas that this project has allowed me to meet, and share.