Weekly All School Bulletin
You hear that? Walking through the halls of the Chase Upper School on April 27th, something quickly became apparent - pockets of student-led silence. Spearheaded by Chase kid Jilly Carleton '20, students vowed to not utter any words during the school day, as part of GLSEN's National Day of Silence movement.
An annual day of action since 1996, the National Day of Silence is a way for students to organize and spread awareness about the bullying and silencing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) students. It was important to Carleton that she remind her peers that not everyone has the same support systems in their lives and that often teens are faced with hostile school or home environments.
"What inspired me to bring this event to Chase, was people around me not sure of what my club was and not being very educated about the LGBTQ community itself," explained Carleton, who reignited the GSTA (Gay Straight Trans Alliance) Club at Chase this year. "This event was an opportunity to educate, get the word out there, and support those in need."
Hoping to continue growing the GSTA Club, which according to Carleton, had only been without a leader at Chase for a couple of years, Carleton's future plans for the club include engagement with events like National Coming Out Day (held in October each year) and National Day of Silence, as well as participation in student conferences.
Knowing that this year's National Day of Silence happened to fall on a cherished Chase tradition of public speaking - Senior Speeches - Carleton made efforts to ensure that every Chase kid could participate in some way.
"I recognized the fact that many people were giving speeches and had engaging classes to attend," stated Carleton. "[So,] I made sure people could support in other ways. Triangular rainbow stickers were given out to anyone that donated $1 or more, which [the GSTA Club will donate] to The Trevor Project... an organization that specializes in suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth, which is a cause near and dear to my heart."
Leading up the event, Carleton, along with the help of her mentor Mrs. Emmer, also posted daily LGBTQ community facts on the bulletin board in the US foyer.
"If people take anything away from this day, I hope they have more awareness of the struggles LGBTQ youth face, especially in schools across the country and the world," stated Carleton.
"[And,] if anyone wants to [get] involved in the GSTA [Club at Chase], I'd invite them to email me with questions."
Not one to leave anyone out of the conversation, Carleton hopes that if others in the greater Chase community want to get involved, that they'd consider donating to The Trevor Project, and they can always keep their eyes and ears open for any future events sponsored by the Chase kid led-club.
~Kelly Ann Oleksiw
Digital & Social Media Specialist