Salma Osman is fluent in four languages: Somali, French, Arabic and English. Each maps out part of her life. Her Somali heritage. Her time in Canada with her father. Moving to Saudi Arabia to live with her grandmother and attending French school. And, three years ago, journeying to the United States to live with her uncle in Oregon.
“I grew up experiencing a lot of different types of culture,” she said. “I made a lot of African friends, Arabs, French, Asian, Mexican, white. Learning about a different culture is just so amazing.”
Salma is a leader in Beaverton High School’s Multicultural Student Union and PACE – Principal’s Advisory Council on Equity – to help inform the administration what students need to succeed. The clubs focus on how to make the school more inclusive and respectful of cultural differences. Among their tools are diversity assemblies and dialogues between students and faculty.
“I feel like some people really don’t know other cultures,” Salma said. “We want them to see other cultures and learn about what they are and how they celebrate their culture together.”
Salma hopes to study architecture after she graduates this year. At Beaverton High School, she gets hands-on learning experience in the field. The school offers classes in design, art and drafting to prepare students for an array of professions.
Beaverton Principal Anne Erwin said this is all part of a larger endeavor.
“We’re raising money to figure out how to make 21st century facilities for our students,” Erwin said. “That’s our promise. We are going to make this school and its curricular offerings a 21st century school.”