In the Children’s Words

As a group project my research team and I have structured together, we have decided to concentrate on the opinions of high school students regarding gentrification, and more specifically the culture and daily living in South Phoenix. We had the pleasure of interviewing a South Phoenix High school, whose identity will be concealed as requested by the administrator. Our research team’s intentions, before and concluding the interview, were never to enforce the stigma that surrounds the South Phoenix school districts. Our mission was to uncover the truth about South Phoenix residents, and to learn about the views of South Phoenix students on outsiders. There are a lot of areas in South Phoenix that are badly maintained, but on a personal level, I have known people who have overcome hardship that was due to their environment, and they have had the ability to obtain happy successful lives, so I before walking in there, I was extremely cautious not to make this interview seem like we were in the movie “Dangerous Minds.”

When we arrived to the office, a female student was called up to escort us the class we would be talking to. She greeted us, and while walking to the classroom, she proudly mentioned to us how exceptionally well the high school was doing in sports, and also told us she was in the student government course we were going to. We made our interview extremely opened and welcoming, holding Ash in charge of asking questions, while the rest of my group and I recorded, and maintained order in the conversations. More like a class discussion, students were encouraged to speak up if whenever they had an opinion or experience they wanted to share. Ash first introduced our class, and then by asking how they feel about the negative outlook South Phoenix has received from outsiders, she set off effective catalyst in encouraging their output for our South Phoenix interview. Their extensive groans and rolling eyes expressed their dissatisfaction of such assumptions.

Basically, all of the topics we touched regarded the safety, and the views and assumptions that have been made about South Phoenix. With the exception of the luxurious businesses such as resorts and parks located in this part of the city, South Phoenix is considered an unattractive place where most people would not want to live. One of the aspects of South Phoenix that was talked about was education. With the exception of a student or two, they had no complaints about the faculty, or the school system. Contrary to Daniel Gonzalez’s article, “South Phoenix on the Rise,” which states “One thing all residents want is better education,” these students expressed their appreciation of the faculty, stating they are conscientious and persistent in giving the students the most opportunities and best quality education they can achieve. They indicated the worse problem in South Phoenix is the crime, but even that, they articulated, has been extremely exaggerated by the media. The promising young students were completely cooperative in answering our questions. Their enthusiasm at one point even turned into a mini debate, which fortunately, did not get too out of hand.

Interviewing this high school in South Phoenix was the most education assignment my research team and I had completed during this course of this semester. The children’s views of growing up in South Phoenix are extremely important to the improvement of this city, especially those who possess promising futures and leadership abilities such as the children we interviewed. From what they perceive, they can determine what changes need to be made, and take actions if necessary.


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Modified 4/21/2006