GSA/Diversity Club Continues to Improve Walpole High

Students+at+Walpole+High+wear+red+for+Ally+Day

Students at Walpole High wear red for Ally Day

Andrea Lee

Students at Walpole High wear red for Ally Day

Most clubs and teams in Walpole High have a goal that can be reached by all the members working together to achieve it–like winning a game, or maybe a competition. And while none of these goals are simple, the Gay Straight Alliance/Diversity Club takes on a goal that cannot be done in a day, not even a year:  making WHS a more accepting school. What they are working for is a gradual process, but one that the members hope will promote embracement of diversity in the halls of Walpole High.

The GSA/Diversity Club was a new addition to the school last year, and is now in its second year of being a part of Walpole High. It was founded by senior Jaquil Brooks, who, after various talks with administration, and finding teachers to advise the club, made the GSA Diversity Club happen. Last year, the club branched out to the non-members of Walpole High with an Ally Day and a Day of Silence. Both were successful: a lot of students wore purple — the color that was selected by the club — and signed up to get a pass from talking in school all day in support of GSA/Diversity. And this year, another successful Ally Day was hosted on October 19th, where the halls of Walpole High were filled with red (the selected color this year).  Ally Day was held two years in a row, and so will the Day of Silence, along with more events that the club is trying to plan.

Brooks said, “By being involved in events such as Ally Day or the Day of Silence, students give a sense of care to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community of WHS.”

 In Walpole High, it is uncommon to have days where students can wear a special type of clothing to represent a certain aspect of the school, other than sport teams and spirit week. But GSA Diversity is breaking that stereotype and is branching out to the other members of Walpole High in the hopes of breaking other stereotypes, the ones that exist every day in a typical high school environment.  

President Jaquil Brookes said, “The purpose of the club is to foster the practice and learning of love, compassion, and acceptance, in order to make each and every member of Walpole High School feel a part of the high school community.” With this goal in mind, the club is trying to go out of their way to expand to the rest of the school.

Despite having leaders who want to make a change in the school, the club cannot do it alone. Members of Walpole High have to be willing to take on this acceptance of diversity.  Wearing red for Ally Day, senior Rebecca Goula said,  “The whole idea of the club is awesome. I’m not in the club, but I feel like I would totally be a part of the club if I had the time.” Goula even recognizes the change of respect towards the club: “I also think it’s awesome how only a few years ago a club like this would never have gotten the respect it deserves, but I think it shows how far we’ve come as a school and how our generation is just so much more accepting and respectful than those before us.” 

And while some might think that GSA/Diversity is not heavily involved in WHS as a whole, the members are bringing to the school more intangible changes that cannot be seen, but are just as effective. Brooks said, “Some things the GSA can bring to WHS is appreciation of diversity, making the school a safer environment for LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) students and students who don’t necessarily ‘fit in,’ bring positivity to the school atmosphere, and acknowledge that there are LGBT students at WHS, and they’re not alone.”

The members work towards acceptance, confidence, and a sense of belonging in the halls of WHS. And while the gradual process might take a lot of work and time, the changes that GSA/Diversity are aspiring to make are meant to create a better environment for all members of Walpole High School.