On April 9, Bullis School hosted the annual GSA Summit for private schools in the metropolitan DC areas. Ms. Gray, Ms. Benson, Dr. Romeyn, Ms. Davis, along with selected students from each school, collaborated on fun activities and ideas for a speaker during the Summit.
The fifteen schools that were in attendance were:
· Georgetown Day
· Saint Albans
· Saint Stephens Saint Agnes
· Sandy Spring Friends
· Stone Ridge
· Saint Andrews
This year, the speaker was a young woman named Io Tillet Wright, an artist and an activist. Wright photographs various people’s faces who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer and includes them in a project to show that humanity beneath the label. The Human Rights campaign sponsors her project.
The workshops consisted of an accumulation of all the ideas, led by the SMYAL group, from various individuals at different schools about how they can make their GSA’s more prominent in their school life. SMYAL (Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League) is an organization that seeks so “empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths in the Washington, DC metropolitan region”. With the help of the organization, the students were able to determine constructive ideas to help the GSA’s influence at their own schools.
Another workshop called “Story Time” was led by the student facilitators from each school and it allowed the students to voice their past experiences and personal stories.
“I am one of the few out people at this school and I have a lot of support from my friends but I didn’t have people I can connect with on another level,” Rayna Tyson (’14) said. “Story time was great because I got to relate with the people who came to the Summit and we all shared our stories and we became closer. I have a bunch of new friends now!”
Overall, the day proved to be a success as participants left the Blair building and headed back to their schools, bringing with them knowledge of a better support system than they initially had.
Hopefully the GSA Summit can continue to touch lives as various other schools host it in the following years!