From Scholar Sanskriti
McLean County Diversity Project c/o Jeffrey A. Schwartz PO Box 58 Downs, IL 61736
All content is © Copyright 2012 McLean County Diversity Project
As I complete my sixth, and final, year as a privileged scholar of the McLean County Diversity Project, I can say without a doubt that being a part of this amazing project has shaped the person that I am today in many ways.
When I first started, I was ecstatic to be a part of this group. I even remember e-mailing Jeff months before the application was out, just to get a head start! At the start of my first year, I was introduced to Connie Kelly, who at the time was the leader of the local Kids on the Block Puppet Troupe. Being an active member of this puppet troupe has taught me many lessons about embracing and accepting the differences in others, rather than alienating those differences.
The experiences we scholars have shared as members of the project are one of a kind. Over the years, I have had many opportunities to meet numerous and extraordinary individuals, all of whom - collectively - have brought the notion of ‘diversity’ more to life. The different aspects of diversity we have experienced are unique and intricately interwoven to expand the perspectives of the scholars.
"Getting out of your comfort zone" is a huge component of the project. For me, this has been best experienced on the trips we take at the end of the year.
Before my first trip, I had never realized how enclosed my personal comfort zone was. It wasn't until I was in the Smoky Mountains, surrounded by the woods and wildlife, that I realized how amazing it is to take a break from the comfort of our daily routines and to immerse yourself in a new world full of new sights to see and experiences to be gained.
All of these trips have grown my passion for travel and learning about the routines and cultures of different parts of the United States, as well as internationally, when the project traveled to Costa Rica last year.
The project has allowed me to create lasting friendships due to the unity of the group as a whole.
Being able to participate in this project is a privilege and I am truly grateful that I have had the opportunity to invest six years with amazing students, adults, and other inspirational people.
I entered the project as a young, impressionable, <seventh grader> and this summer I will say my goodbye as an inspired student with nothing but thankfulness to the McLean County Diversity Project.
Senior Veteran Scholar