7th grader stands up for what she believes in

One day in seventh grade, my friend Sydney stood up for what she believed in. She went up to the philosophy and social studies teachers for the lower-classmen in my school, Great River School, and asked if there was a GSA, which stands for Gay-Straight Alliance.

A GSA is a club of many different, wonderful and unique people with a range of sexualities united in allegiance to fight and stand for the rights of the GLBTQ community. GLBTQ stands for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer. The group gathers around, eats snacks, talks about the problems the GLBTQ community faces and works on projects to show support and create awareness.

Sydney was very persistent and eventually found out that there wasn’t a GSA, but that there were plans laid out from past seniors who had wanted to start one. Those blueprints gave Sydney the okay to get started. She picked a day, planned her very first meeting, made some flyers and crossed her fingers in hope that people would show up. She asked teachers to announce the meeting during their advisories and at the community meeting, adding that there would be snacks, which may have piqued some interest.

The very first meeting was held during lunch in a room we call “the garage” because it has a big clear glass garage door; our school was an office building once upon a time. We gathered around in a circle and patiently waited to start, but people kept coming and coming, delaying the first meeting by a few minutes.

During the meeting, Sydney educated us on the different kinds of sexual orientations and the vocabulary that goes along with it. Then, she opened it up for discussion, and we all shared what we thought about the topic. We took turns and remained polite. We were all very proud of Sydney for starting something so important.

That was three years ago. Sydney is now freshman, and the GSA is still up and running but has undergone a few changes. There is a board meeting now for the most dedicated members to help plan the meetings. The general meetings are held routinely, every other Wednesday after school.

It was an amazing day when Sydney went up to the teacher and asked about creating a GSA club, a feat most seventh graders wouldn’t be able to do. It goes to show that anyone of any age can do something amazing. If you just set your mind to it, whether it’s studying a bit harder for an A+ on that test you know you deserve or pushing yourself a bit further to get picked for the sports team, you can achieve your goal. Just remember to not stress out and to eat some holiday cookies while you’re at it.

Happy holidays!

- Isaura Greene, ThreeSixty Journalism teen reporter

Isaura Greene