We had a wonderful year in our GSA! Nearly twenty percent of the teenage students in our P-12 school attended weekly lunchtime meetings on a regular basis. Some meetings were project-based, while others were just about getting together and chatting.
We kicked off our year by participating in a board-wide GSA conference held at Cape Breton University. Students were able to choose from a variety of workshops and network with like-minded students from across the region. There were also advisor workshops which gave teachers and student services staff the opportunity to learn about how we can better serve our students with diversity in mind.
Later in the year we were able to attend a workshop held by The Youth Project. At this event, GSA members and advisors participated in valuable team-building activities and round-table discussions with students from schools north of Smokey, Baddeck, and Waycobah First Nation. There was also a very practical goal-setting session where our students discussed their vision for the future at Rankin and made specific plans for bridging that gap.
The Youth Project workshop came in handy as we prepared to host a Pride Week at our school. GSA members raised awareness of LGBTQ+ issues through P. A. announcements and posters. They also orchestrated an afternoon of fun challenges which were informative and focused on the themes of respect and acceptance. All of the school’s students from grades 5 to 12 participated in these challenges and the event was a great success!
Shortly after our Pride Week, we continued our mission to promote diversity in our school by spending another week celebrating International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia. GSA members made further P. A. announcements, set up a table full of LGBTQ-friendly books for all ages, and hung the pride flag and transgender flag in our cafeteria. They included our school’s youngest students by visiting the grade P-4 classes, reading the story Red, and working on a flag craft after a discussion about expressing identity. These flags are still proudly displayed in our lobby area.
As the end of the year approaches, the GSA is already planning what they’d like to do in September! They are going to start by creating a mural so that the LGBTQ+ community can be permanently represented at Rankin. Their initial design ideas are beautiful and next year is clearly on track to build on this year’s successes!
Staff Advisor: Erin Thompson