By: Erika Axe
James Caldwell High School is home to a large number of clubs, sports, and activities. With a range of anything from Mock Trial to Photography Club to the Ping-Pong Club, there are a lot of options to choose from including a number of clubs that may not be as well-known as others, but just as great! Many in the school have heard of both the Gay-Straight Alliance and the Diversity Club, but may not know exactly what each club is.
The Gay-Straight Alliance, more commonly known as the GSA, is a club in support of making the school—and by extension, the whole community—a place of awareness and total acceptance for people of all sexualities. While a common misconception of the club is that the club is for and made up of only homosexuals, the club is truly an alliance for people of all sexualities, including those who are straight and are in support of an understanding community. In fact, one of the club’s dedicated presidents, Katie Aliotta, is straight. Involvement in the club is for those people who want to show support for others through discussions of different topics such as religion, race, and the school community in order to shine light upon the many facets of life that can be affected by sexual orientation.
The GSA also holds a number of events. Besides meeting together on Thursday nights about once a month, the group has special activities, time for bonding, and spreads awareness through events like its recent Quidditch match, participation in the Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Week, Ally Week and through plans for a future “it gets better” video to talk about the work being done within our school.
The Diversity Club, led by Giselle Fernandez and Ben Ploch, is also a group in our school that addresses equality and awareness in our school and community by discussing the various topics like stereotypes prevalent within both James Caldwell High School and society in general, with the goal of further creating a tolerant place for all students and faculty. Like GSA, membership is not just for those who may conventionally face issues of inequality or misunderstanding. The club is for people of all races. Along with faculty advisor Ms. Cunningham, the club is planning on a future trip to Kean University to participate in their Diversity Day in early March. Meeting every other Thursday or so, the club is a place of much understanding and is “open to everyone.” As Giselle stated, “we all have an input in it.”
Within a school that characterizes understanding and helpfulness, both clubs are a great place to go and help make JCH a better place. So keep an open ear for the announcements and club events and join!