A Reflection from a WHS African American Student on His Experience at WHS

Anonymous, Contributing Writer

Westborough High School has been kind of like a zoo…like I’ve felt like an animal, eyes on me at all times. It puts a lot of pressure on me, has made me anxious and has made me feel out of place when I was supposed to feel accepted. I am one of a few of the only African American students at WHS. WHS is actually nicknamed “Westbubble”, because it’s in its own world. This means that a lot of people only see certain things. As one of the only few African American students, I know the way in which I have felt and have been treated has negatively impacted my mental health and my academics.

When I walk into a classroom, everyone is staring at me as I am the only Black student. I feel like everything that happens in the school is out of my control. I have felt depressed, and it has made me shut down. For example, in the beginning of the day if someone says a racist remark in the hallway, I could be mad for the rest of the day. Another example is that some teachers don’t know how to teach African American students. I have had racism encounters with teachers; the responses I get is that they are not educated on Black culture, which doesn’t make sense. I am caught up on their white culture. As a teacher, you have to recognize how to teach your students no matter their race. One of my teachers a few years ago read aloud from a book the “n-word” in front of me. The teacher didn’t ask if I felt comfortable with them reading the word. It made me feel like back to the zoo analogy. It made me feel like I was in a cage and I couldn’t do anything.

I did create some good relationships with teachers. My school psychologist has supported me throughout my high school years.

Because I recognize that a lot of Black youth have a hard time in school, I am interested in studying Sociology and Community-Building in college. I am already in the planning stages of creating a program similar to Boys and Girls Clubs. I plan to help kids get into college, teach them financial stability, and other life skills. I want to give other African American youth a better experience than I have had at WHS. I want them to be able to feel accepted in their skin. I want to normalize Black culture and success.