KRISTINA XIE ’16
I can honestly say many things do not offend me. I have a neutral stance on pretty much everything. However, there is one thing that makes me annoyed, that is the negative connotations associated with being a Posse Scholar on campus. I heard through the grapevines that one professor described Posse Scholars as “miracle students from underdeveloped communities coming to college” and “at-risk youths.” This is not only offensive, but also, quite frankly an ignorant statement made by someone who is unknowledgeable about what the Posse Foundation is, so let me educate everyone.
The Posse Scholarship is a merit-based scholarship given to students who demonstrate leadership abilities in all categories, from academics to athletics. Before students are picked to be in a posse of 10-12 students, candidates have to go through several rounds to prove that they can cooperate well with others and become a support system. After each round, only students who demonstrate these abilities advance to the next. In the final round, the Deans of each college hand select students and a posse is born. From there, students are required to attend weekly meetings from their senior year of high school to the end of their sophomore year in college. This is only a meager glimpse of the entire process, which also includes retreats, intensive discussions and one-on-one meetings with trainers and on campus advisors.
The assumptions about Posse Scholars on campus made me evaluate how I identified myself freshmen year. Now, more than ever, I am confident enough to assert that I am a proud scholar. Posse is not only for minority students or “at-risk youths in urban areas.” I would like to give you my own profile and background as an example of what type of students and characters are part of the Posse.
I grew up in the East Village of New York City, filled with hippies and NYU students. I also attended one of the Eight Specialized High Schools, the Brooklyn Latin School, which specialized in Latin and the humanities. My high school was filled with students of all ethnicities and we wore uniforms identical to the ones Blair and Serena wear in Gossip Girl. I am not from the “ghetto” or “at-risk” to any extent. As you can see, Posse scholars come from all backgrounds and have a wide range of interests and hobbies.
This can be applied to my Posse brothers and sisters who work hard to diversify the campus. We participate in many organizations on campus to make our community more inviting, inclusive and vibrant. Thus, when professors or other members of this campus make false generalizations about Posse, I feel personally attacked. My family on campus is my Posse. They have kept me humbled, motivated and reminded me of New York roots. Thus, when we are categorized in such a negative light, I want to scream and tell people that they’re wrong. I never had to defend my beliefs, identity, and family as much as I had to here.
Although many people believe that a full-tuition paid scholarship is the ultimate prize of being a Posse Scholar, it really isn’t. I have developed close relationships to my siblings and advisor. Whenever I am down or need someone to give me advice, I know I have ten other people who will give me their insight. I have inherited a beautiful and talented family who has consistently shown their loyality and support for everything I’ve done and will do in the near future. So for those of you, who have negative perceptions or don’t know what Posse is about, I urge you to reconsider your assumptions and ask yourself, have you spoken to a Posse Scholar? Have you asked about their past or what they’re passionate about? If not, do so and see what kind of charisma and drive we have. We do not only diversify the campus, but we also burst the superfluous bubble that seems to have made this campus so distant from the real world.