This essay, by Dominic from Thomas B. Doherty High School, is one of the top five finalists for our scholarship. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below this post!
Imagine looking at a map of our country. Doubtless, it depicts geography and the locations of states, lakes, and cities of prominence. Yet, a map reveals more than that; looked at with keener eyes, a map depicts society. This then begs the question: where is Colorado and what does the answer mean? Well, Colorado is just about centered on the map; it’s at the very heart of our country. This is obvious; but what does it mean? It means that – throughout history and still today – to get from one place to another, travelers go through Colorado. It means that we’re constantly influenced by the states around us; we’re not isolated – we have states on all sides. It means that we were one of the lastplaces affected by European colonization; it didn’t start from the center and work its way out – it started from the coasts and worked its way in. These are conclusions I’ve drawn from the map – strictly from geography. Intriguingly, these geographical conclusions seem to describe our society acutely. We’re right in the middle; we’re a mix of all things. We’re the centrist in a debate, holding an amalgam of viewpoints that together align perfectly with no party. We’re not huddled with similar states in a corner of the country; we’re at the center, seeing differing perspectives all around us. Coloradans have roots all over the country; our inhabitants are transplants; their roots are burrowed in the soils of other states, but they’ve branched out and created a new home. Because of this, our culture is diverse and comprised of many cultures. What I love about Colorado Springs – what makes it a great place to live – is that it dons the identity of Colorado and wears it well; it’s a city colored by myriad cultures, diverse populations, and the rich histories of inhabitants who hail from all over.
One reason for our city’s diversity is the noteworthy presence of the military. Our town is a military town; it functions as a home to multiple bases, including Schriever Air Force Base, Fort Carson, and Peterson Air Force Base, as well as the nation’s only Air Force Academy. This strong military presence decidedly influences the populace and culture of Colorado Springs. Members of the military hail from nationwide and constantly change location; many of them have origins outside of the city and state. Hence, people from elsewhere overwhelm our city, adding to its diversity. What’s more, the military worker brings his spouse and children with him. I know countless “military kids” who attend my high school; their parents have been all over the country, and so have they. Furthermore, the recurring phenomenon of military men and women marrying foreigners while stationed overseas and bringing them back to the USA, and ultimately Colorado Springs, has augmented the growth of diversity in the city. I can personally affirm this; while my grandfather, an Army vet, was stationed in Germany, he met and married my grandmother. They now live in Colorado Springs, and they’re the reason I do too. I can thank the military for my biological existence as well as the location of my childhood residence. Regardless, by marrying foreigners, military veterans have introduced Colorado Springs to new and different cultures. Another reason for our diversity stems from Colorado Springs’ identity as the Olympic City. Six thousand feet above sea level and home to the nation’s flagship Olympic Training Center, this city truly is the desired destination for aspiring athletes. Of course, American Olympic competitors come from across the country. When they come here to train, and sometimes stay, they bring their backgrounds and cultures with them, adding flavor to Colorado Springs.
Having now explained some of the key components of the city’s diversity, I want to expound my personal experience with it and the reasons why I believe it makes Colorado Springs a great place to live. I’ve experienced the diversity of this city firsthand. When I walk through the Garden of the Gods or Palmer Park, I hear a variety of languages, including Russian, Spanish, Arabic, German, and others I can’t recognize. During my sophomore year on my high school’s tennis team, our best player was an exchange student from Thailand who was professionally ranked in the junior leagues in his home country. One of my good friends, whom I also met through tennis, is a Muslim who was born in Egypt. Multiple times, I’ve seen men on horses crossing main roads in urban parts of town. In Colorado Springs, I’ve seen a hoodie for every sports team out there – college or professional. Even I exemplify my point; I was born in Michigan and continue to hold ties to that state. In Colorado Springs, I’ve never gone out of my way to seek out people who aren’t like me; they’re all around and impossible to ignore. They make up the populace of this city. I’m one of them. In Colorado Springs, anyone and anything goes. In my opinion, this is an outstanding quality for a city to have. Because of this diversity, I’m able to meet and forge friendships with people from other states and countries and witness the cultures of those unlike me. In turn, these experiences expand my worldview, open my mind to new ideas and perspectives, build my base of knowledge, and strengthen my ability to communicate and cooperate with others. I believe that the diversity of Colorado Springs makes it a great place to live.