“You go to Seabury? That’s where all of the rich white kids go, right?”
Almost anywhere I go that involves meeting new people from Maui, this question eventually pops up in the conversation. Hearing those words makes me cringe every time as I know that this assumption is far from the truth.
Here at Seabury Hall, we definitely have a stereotype that students from other schools seem to only believe. For some reason, we have created the reputation for having only wealthy white kids who attend this school when in fact we have students from all different heritages, backgrounds, and social classes.
Personally, I have friends and classmates who are from all different races and ethnicities such as Japanese, Peruvian, Norwegian, and Hawaiian. I, myself, am half European and half Mexican. Students from other schools on the island seem to have one perspective of the entire student body on campus: everyone is white and wealthy. However, if they were to broaden their outlook on Seabury, they would realize the true diversity on this campus.
Lona Girardin, a sophomore, has been attending Seabury Hall since the seventh grade after moving from southern France with her family. After moving back and forth between France and Maui, Girardin and her family decided to make a permanent move to the island because of her father’s work. Like Girardin, students have joined the school from drastically different places, but now call the Seabury community their home. “I have always felt welcomed here by the other students and teachers. I am proud of my culture, and I love being bilingual as it opens so many opportunities for me anywhere I go,” Girardin said.
Although the tuition at Seabury Hall is more expensive when compared to other academies on Maui, this does not mean there are only extremely wealthy kids who attend the school. Seabury Hall generously offers financial aid, scholarships, and other services to students who need assistance. According to the school’s admissions office, exactly 31% of the student body receives financial assistance. A large portion of the school’s financial aid funds come from the annual Seabury Hall Craft Fair organized by Seabury Hall students, staff, families, and local businesses.
Beyond the tendency of outside students to believe that Seabury’s primary goal is to find wealthy applicants to admit, the school’s administrators are much more interested in finding students who are passionate and determined.
On campus, students are involved in a wide variety of academics and extracurricular activities. From having the best girls country team for the past eleven years and the best boys paddling team, Seabury excels in many of the sports we take part in. Our students work incredibly well together, and I have never felt personally attacked for my own personal culture, religious beliefs, or financial background.
Seabury Hall also offers a large diversity in classes regarding languages and electives. Students here have the option to take Japanese, Spanish, Hawaiian, Animism, Biblical studies, and online independent courses if someone chooses to go beyond the courses at Seabury. The school also encourages students to research study abroad programs if they are interested in pursuing that path. We have many opportunities here that allow us to expand our knowledge of other cultures and indulge ourselves in the language of another country.
I realize that the mentalities of other students and the general public will most likely stay the same regarding what kind of students they believe attend Seabury Hall, but it is important to understand that there are definite misconceptions about the school.
The majority of Seabury students will shrug off the rude comments made by students who attend other schools on Maui, but this is an issue we need to change or else the negativity will only continue.
Although the student body is relatively small, perhaps they should show more enthusiasm towards the school and represent themselves in the community as a more diverse community. Whether it be wearing spirit shirts more often or supporting classmates at sporting events, the students need to take action and make it known to the public that Seabury Hall is vibrant place full of different cultures and ethnicities.