Gay Straight Alliance Club Celebrates 10 Years at HHS

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It is the 10th year of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Hershey High School. The GSA is a club that allows students an open space to discuss LGBTQ+ topics.

Micah and Mayah MacColl Nicholson are at the Dickinson Student Leadership Summit this past March. The Summit has participants from all across central Pennsylvania coming together to support LGBTQ+ issues. (Submitted by Mayah MacColl Nicholson)

The GSA was originally started ten years ago by the learning support teacher, Linda Krayeski. Today, the GSA is run by Daniel Fornataro and Emily Reinert, both teachers at Hershey.

They meet before and after school on Wednesdays. They meet and discuss overall attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community in Hershey High School (HHS). Each meeting is also an opportunity to allow students to share stories if they are comfortable enough.

The GSA advisor Emily Reinert said, “It is up to each individual if he or she wants to share their gender identity or sexuality. It is not required to share that personal information with the club.”

The advisors work hard to make sure all students in the club feel comfortable and have an open space to share if they wish.

The mission statement of the club describes it best: “Hershey High School’s Gay/Straight Alliance is a club made of a group of students at Hershey High School with the intent to give all students, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious background, and intellectual ability, a place to meet, talk, and become socially active, as well as to promote diversity, not only during school hours, but at any time.”

The club began to help create a safe, inclusive space for students. The GSA has students that identify as cisgender and straight, and they also have students who identify as part of the entire spectrum.

As part of the GSA, you get the opportunity to participate in the Dickinson Student Leadership Summit. Junior Mayah MacColl Nicholson, two year member, said, “You get to be around so many amazing beautiful people who are so strong, and you just get to learn from them. You get to try to help them get through things that might be happening in their lives which is so cool because most of us are complete strangers.”

MacColl Nicholson has participated in the GSA and their Summit for two years now. She defines why she joined by how she feels, “It’s very important for people to have a place where they can come and feel completely comfortable being who they are without fear of someone judging them.”

The GSA participates in many group events throughout the year such as The Summit, day of equality, National Pride week, and National Coming Out day.

Students can join by going to a meeting before or after school on Wednesdays, or they can contact the club advisors, Daniel Fornataro or Emily Reinert.