I was guiding a group of students from a school in my hometown through the Winnipeg Art Gallery recently. At one point during the tour I watched the children busy making clay sculptures. Suddenly it struck me how very different this class looked than the classes I’d been part of in that same community as a child. Check out the photo above of my grade three class taken on the steps of Steinbach’s Kornelson School in 1962. All forty students in the photo are white. I can still remember the surnames of almost every child in my class. Virtually ever one was of Mennonite heritage.
The group I was touring at the art gallery fifty years later was incredibly more diverse. The children came from a wide variety of racial, cultural and religious backgrounds.
I’m glad the community I grew up in has become much less homogenous in some important ways. Children are receiving a more realistic, balanced view of the world right in their own classrooms as they interact with youngsters who come from very different backgrounds than their own. That gives me hope for the future of our country and our world.