By Chaten J.
Westmount is a place where everyone is welcome. It is a place where all children can grow up, make friends, and succeed in academics. Wide ranges of children attend Westmount, from special needs kids to your everyday kids, and the defining characteristic of all these children is that they are gifted. Giftedness is defined by our school councilor as, “the combination of potential motivation and intelligence, [but] you can [also] be really smart and not be gifted [just the same way] you can also be really motivated and not be a gifted learner. You need both of these traits working together in unison to be gifted”. The principle stated that, “gifted learners think and feel different than normal kids. They are more emotionally sensitive; they care more, they get more excited quicker than normal kids do, and they care more deeply about the things that are important to them. They have more complex listening and acting skills”. The reason that we, the children of Westmount are diverse is because we come from all different backgrounds and lives; we have such ranging opinions about everything. We also care more than the other children, in that we care more about the things that matter to us personally, and in general we are all just weirdo’s.
Diversity in our school does not stop with the children that attend it and the unique academic abilities and athletically that they posses, but it also continues to our philosophy about equality. Our culture here at Westmount is about equality and fairness for everyone. A key club/ organization that promotes equality at Westmount is our GSA or Gender Sexuality Alliance. The GSA, which has been around for two years, supports those who do not fit into the gender or sexuality norm. Throughout the school there is a mutual respect for these people, as the children here have been taught from a very young age to respect everyone that is around you.
Ms. McCartney, the teacher that leads the GSA, describes the club as, “basically a friendship club that (according to our mission statement) is a place where gender, sexual, and romantic minorities (GSRM) as well as allies needing support from peers, can come together knowing their feelings will be understood and respected. We have been around for two full school years now, and we regularly connect with other clubs like ours in the city via social media and regular roundtable meetings.” Clubs like these help the children at our school fit in and help kids understand themselves. Equality is a pillar at this school and without this specific goal our school would not be known as one of the most welcoming institutes of gifted education there is.
Language is also a way that we at Westmount diversify from other schools. A majority of the students at Westmount speak some kind of second language or, have English as their second language. Our school has special programs put in place to help these children learn, and to show them that the have help whenever they need it. The ESL or English Second Language program run by the administration at this school helps immigrants who are having difficulties adjusting to this, an English based school.
Our second languages program at Westmount is also very extensive for all those who wish to learn and experience a new language or a fresh way of thinking. We have two language options here at Westmount, French and Spanish, and both provide a novel way that children can experience life through. This new lens allows children that attend Westmount to see the world in an original and adventurous way.
Children from other schools “tend to ridicule us” for looking at the world in a different way than they do. Many children that I have talked to about moving from a public school to Westmount say the same thing; Westmount is a place where weirdness is encouraged and standards are high.
Westmount Charter School is a place for everyone to realize their potential in a new and diverse way. People from all walks of life collect here to have a welcoming and positive environment and I personally feel that this school has helped people achieved just that.