The April 1 Metro article “TJ high’s new class is predominantly Asian” stated, “Asian American students will make up 70 percent of the incoming freshman class” at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Initially, I was shocked at how quickly the number has risen since I was there, and then I was concerned.
I attended TJ from 2009 to 2013, and as a black student from an area of Fairfax County that has disproportionately fewer admitted students, I thought the lack of racial and socioeconomic diversity was palpable. It is upsetting that TJ still has not diversified the student body.
Admissions are skewed toward wealthier areas of the region with greater resources and educational opportunities. Consequently, many of the black, Hispanic and low-income students who would thrive at TJ do not have the chance to attend. Resources should be better distributed at all levels of education within school districts so that students from underrepresented backgrounds have the same access to test preparation, extracurricular activities and honors classes, allowing them to be as well equipped as other students.
My time at TJ was key to my personal development. Still, I yearned for more racial and socioeconomic diversity. Diversity provides essential exposure to different perspectives that we can all learn from and appreciate. This issue should matter to everyone regardless of his or her race or socioeconomic status.
Yihemba Yikona, Alexandria