My story began when I was enrolled in a Catholic grade school, or private school, at the age of five. At that point, I was a part of a huge flock of students that consisted of different two races and ethnicities that were present in different class grades. I noticed that as I started experiencing diversity in during my years in Kindergarten and first grade. In Kindergarten, I sat with different students who come from different races and ethnicities. There were some students that were of Hispanic descent, some were of Caucasian descent, a couple of African-American students, and there were a couple of students that were of Filipino descent. This was the case until everything changed for me in the middle of my year in first grade. At that time, I was being bullied by this one kid that was in the same class I was in and he made me look like I had behavioral problems in front of the teachers. Even worse, my first grade teacher and the principal thought I was the problem child even though I was not at fault. I remember the words of the principal that made my parents switch me to a different school. Those words of that principal that was said to my parents were, “I think your son has autism.” Since that happened, my parents were offended by that notion and later proved to them that I did not have behavioral problems. In the end, they switched me to a Christian grade school where I later experienced different side of diversity.
As my six year-old self began my first time in a Christian grade school, I soon adapted with the fresh, and friendlier faces of students and teachers. It was then that understood my pain from my time in private school. For about six years, I was with the same students I met since the middle of my first grade since I began my education in a Christian grade school who were in the same class I was in. Moreover, I even met new students that became new additions to our classes and became friends with them. The diversity among my classmates was a little different from my classmates from private school. My class was a mix of mostly Caucasian students, a couple of African-American students, some students that were of Hispanic descent, and some students that were of Asian descent — specifically Filipino and Korean. Aside from the diversity in my school being based on race, color, and ethnicity, the only predicament in the diversity of that school was religion. In other words, my Catholic faith conflicted with their Christian faith. As a matter of fact, I thought my religious faith was the same as a Christian faith even though both were different. At one point, they noticed a side of my Catholic faith when I had ashes on my forehead. That day when that happened was Ash Wednesday. Some of them asked me, “Joseph. What is that on your forehead?” I told them, “Today is Ash Wednesday. I had to get my ashes.” Since that moment, I started to notice the differences between the Catholic and Christian faiths. To some, they were confused about what kind of religion I worshipped.
All was well until in the middle of my sixth grade year. At that time, I had a discrepancy with my teacher over some unintended joke my eleven-year-old self made. Since that incident, my parents thought that my teacher was at fault and later moved me back to private grade school. At that point, I thought to myself: it’s just gonna be like private school again. When I began private school, I was now eleven years old — one month before turning twelve years old — and I started my life in private school again. I was along with a different group of faces that I have never seen or met in my class. The class was mostly of Hispanic descent, some were Filipino, and, interestingly, there was one Native American girl whom I later developed a crush on before the end of my year in sixth grade. Since then, I got along with my class and my teachers very well. There were some jokes in bad taste, but I made resolutions with my classmates and we got along very well. For that friendship I had with that one girl I had a crush on, we were good friends. But the ease of friendships in private grade school was more complicated when we were in high school. I was fourteen years old when I started my first year in a Catholic high school. The sense of diversity in race, ethnicity, and religion was and felt the same as I adapted along with the classmates in the same year I’m in. But as the years passed by until the end of my high school years, some of the friendships I’ve had with some students just died down. That was mostly because of the fact that there were more interesting faces that stood out to my classmates from private grade school. The only friendships I’ve had during my time in high school grew from a few people who were in the second private grade school I went to and from some students who came from different high schools and were friendly with me. Since then, I was with the true friends I knew in my grade level until the end of my senior year. I was eighteen when I graduated from high school and, since then, most of the classmates I was acquainted with and the true friends I knew were off to different colleges or off doing their own thing.
For twelve years, my journey in religious education has been quite a ride. From principals being insensitive to my churlish self, to experiencing what it feels like to be in a different faith in a public Christian school, and to being with different faces after switching back to private school, I had gone through a wild ride during my religious education. What I liked the most out of this was having a close friendship with that one girl I had a crush on during my sixth and seventh grade years. Moreover, I also liked the fact that my perspective of diversity has been broadened from the students and teachers I’ve meet in the schools I went to. On the contrary, what I did not like the most was that principal in the first private school I went to seeing me as a problem child. But as time passed by, I later learned and concluded that diversity yields good and bad results. Specifically, I would make friendships with different people because of the different faiths, interests, cultures, and other background factors that I share or differentiate. Furthermore, I learned and experienced the friendships I made with people of different races and ethnicities because of the interests that the people and I share, differentiate, or favor between one another.