NEWINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Tackling difficult conversations that others may shy away from. There are students today faced with this dilemma.
“I’m Puerto Rican and Dominican, but every time I went to take a test for something, it asked me to check off a box and I never really knew what to check off,” said Steward Nunez. “So, I’d always just check off white.”
For high school junior, Steward Nunez, it’s personal.
“But I am black,” Nunez said. “My dad is black, he’s Dominican. My grandma is black, so I wanted to know a little bit more about myself.”
It’s why Newington High School now offers a Black and Latino studies class. It’s only in its second year, but teacher James Kravontka says the response has been overwhelming and it gets the students digging deep.
“The most difficult question was, ‘would you trade your skin color?’ Some said, ‘I’ve thought about this deeply and I just might.’ Others said, ‘whoa, wait a minute.’ At that point, I fade back and let them go,” Kravontka said.
Students say it’s the conversations happening in that class that make it more comfortable to walk the hallways with such a diverse student body. The course explores Black and Latino history, American slavery, the Civil Rights movement and stories of empowerment.
“We have a very European-focused history curriculum, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but I was just interested in learning about different perspectives and different people from other countries, especially Hispanic people,” Nunez said. “I feel like we don’t get a lot of that.”
Well, now they do.