September 25, 2012
Back-to-School Voices: Barb Silvey
GSA Advisor, Rogers High School
Rogers High School is located in Spokane, WA, a mid-sized city in conservative Eastern Washington. Who would think that one of the two high school Gay-Straight Alliances in Spokane would be located at Rogers? And yet, students are clamoring at the beginning of the school year: ”When’s our first GSA meeting?” ”What day of the week are we meeting?” ”Isn’t Ally Week coming up soon?” ”Are we going to Odyssey this year?” ”When should we get together with our NOISE Group for a school-wide anti-bullying event?” ”We need to start planning for PRIDE!!” It is an exciting start to the school year, and we are the center of it.
My name is Barb Silvey and I have been the proud Advisor of the Rogers High School Gay-Straight Alliance for the past eight years. We have had students of all kinds in our group: kids looking for a way to come out, transgendered students looking for a safe place and people to be with and allies to all who want to have a group that can be proactive in our school. We meet once a week and our biggest challenge is making sure everyone who needs us can find us. Our ASB leaders make us GIANT signs to put in our commons and we put notices in the bulleting, but the best way is by word of mouth. It is so exciting changing lives!!
This year, our main focus is going to be the Changing The Game initiative We intend to approach all of our sports teams and convince them to sign Team Respect Challenge pledges of respect and inclusion so that we can turn our school into a safe place for EVERY student and staff member. We are also continuing to collaborate with our sister school, Shadle Park High School, for GSA events (movies, Valentine’s parties, Christmas parties and hoping to top our participation of 250 for the Day of Silence this year.
Come visit us on our Rogers High School GSA Facebook page.
Resources to help get you back to school:
Changing The Game: GLSEN’s Sport Project - an education and advocacy initiative focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs
Ally Week – Celebrate amazing allies in creating safer schools for all students!
Jump-Start Guide - Find out ways in which you can create and support a GSA in your school
GLSEN Chapters – Find a chapter in your area that can provide on-the-ground support to your GSA, or find out how you can start one!
GLSEN’s Back-to-School Voices series is coming to a close. However, we’re looking for stories on how you are being an Ally in creating safer schools in your community! Check out our Ally Week Stories page to find out more information.