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Amalgamated Academy shows pride thanks to school's first gay-straight alliance group

Juliet Barbour, left, and Jazmine Jewer were among the Amalgamated Academy students who helped form the school's first gay-straight alliance group.
Juliet Barbour, left, and Jazmine Jewer were among the Amalgamated Academy students who helped form the school's first gay-straight alliance group. - Andrew Robinson
BAY ROBERTS, N.L. —

A group of Amalgamated Academy students are making an extra effort to promote inclusivity at their school.

Earlier this year, the students formed the Bay Roberts school's first gay-straight alliance (GSA) group. Jazmine Jewer and Juliet Barbour, who were among its first three members, felt there was a need at the school for the group's formation.

Students from Amalgamated Academy's gay-straight alliance group got together Saturday, June 8 to paint a rainbow crosswalk in front of the school.
Students from Amalgamated Academy's gay-straight alliance group got together Saturday, June 8 to paint a rainbow crosswalk in front of the school.

"I felt that it was needed in this school because it's not talking about enough in our community, and I feel like it should be an open subject for everyone," said Juliet, a Grade 8 student from Coley's Point. "That discussion should be started, no matter where it is or how little the discussion may be, there should be one."

"We didn't really do anything for Pride Week up until this year," added Jazmine, a Grade 6 student from Port de Grave. "You just have to educate people about the topic."

June is commonly recognized as Pride Month for the LGBTQ+ community. Last week, the GSA held Pride Week festivities. To help give the event a noticeable presence on the school grounds, members of the group gathered on a recent Saturday to paint a rainbow crosswalk leading to the main entrance. That idea came from the group's teacher sponsor, Philippe Lemarre.

"It's really nice," Jazmine said, when asked how it felt to see the finished crosswalk.

A Pride flag was also raised outside the school, and there were also plans to raise a GSA flag alongside it on the Friday.

"We're having a little festival in our own way at the school," Juliet said, noting the group held a bake sale. Different events were planned for each day of the week, with the GSA encouraging Amalgamated's student population to dress in rainbow colours as a means to show support for inclusiveness.

For Juliet, it was particularly nice to see the rainbow crosswalk at the school.

"Every little thing helps, so I guess it just made me happy, because it's the little things that matter," she said.

The GSA started with three people and now has 10 members. Juliet and Jazmine both expect it will continue to grow with time.

"I'm really happy," said Juliet. "I'm hoping more members will join soon."

editor@cbncompass.ca


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