If you were to ask me what my favorite part of high school was, I would have to say that it was my school’s Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA). I’ve been in the club for all of my high school career, and I have had the privilege of serving as the club’s president since last year.
Through the GSA, I’ve met countless and inspiring students, and I’ve become much more confident with who I am. With my high school career soon coming to an end, I decided to talk with the teacher sponsor of GSA, Dr. Lee.
Samuel: To start us off, please introduce yourself and your roles both at Novi High School and in the school’s Genders & Sexualities Alliance (GSA).
Dr. Lee: My name is Dr. Lee, and I am a Special Education teacher and the Genders & Sexualities Alliance sponsor here at Novi High School.
Samuel: What is the GSA, and what does it try to accomplish at Novi High School? In other words, what are its goals?
Dr. Lee: The GSA is a floating harbor for individuals to visit, find community, offer community, and develop a community for all individuals in the Novi Community School as they grow and identify their identity in the world around them.
Samuel: Could you explain what a typical GSA meeting looks like?
Dr. Lee: A typical GSA meeting is led by the leadership team. They begin the week off by sending a plan for the meeting to myself, talking to one another, and investigating what is happening in Novi and the world around Novi. During the meeting, the leadership team opens with a question of the day and introductions. Each member has the option to participate in the round table or pass. Once the round table is completed, the leadership team introduces a topic for discussion, an activity for the group, or a challenge of the week. When there are 15 minutes left in the meeting, donuts or treats are provided and the participants can talk and catch up with one another.
Samuel: What do you see for the future of the GSA? Any plans to expand the club or community in any way and do you see any areas where the club can improve?
Dr. Lee: The future vision for the GSA is to have a supportive harbor at every level of education (elementary and the 5-6 buildings are still unsupported) and to have a more inclusive and affirming health and district statement.
Samuel: What inspired you to run the GSA at Novi High School?
Dr. Lee: Growing up, I felt very alone and isolated from the LGBTQ+ community. I did not want any student to feel alone as they experienced learning and growing in an educational community.
Samuel: How do you see the GSA helping and supporting the LGBTQ+ community at Novi High School?
Dr. Lee: When one student feels at home in who they are, they give grace and space for another student to feel at home in who they are, and before we know it the grace and space of one student are not visibly different from the grace and space of another student. That is when the GSA will not be needed because there will be an inclusive and affirming learning environment for all individuals in Novi.
Samuel: For anyone who wants to start a club similar to Novi’s GSA at their high school or local community, what advice would you give to them?
Dr. Lee: The beginning of anything starts with an unwavering belief in itself. One person who stands tall in who they are can start a movement of change. Do not worry about how many people attend the meetings, or who is challenging you, the continuous water drop will wear down a large rock faster than a single roaring wave. Stand tall and firm in who you are and what your vision is; the rest will fall into place. Find a school that is a model for what you are looking for and study what they do. Then recreate what they do with your own flare! Most importantly, be yourself! Because the world needs you more than you could ever know.