GSA is Here to Stay

The club is looking forward to next year: see what’s returning


Mia Mees, Staff Writer

In recognition of Pride month, Summit’s Genders and Sexualities Alliance club deserves a spotlight. Though Covid has had its effect on their opportunities and population, next year promises the return of several active and enticing aspects of GSA, like Gay Prom. This year the club met once a week on Thursdays during lunch in room C104 for snacks, music and chit-chat. It’s a low-stakes club with no strict commitment upon stopping by. 

From the initial pandemic shutdown up until the beginning of this school year, GSA has not had the chance to meet, leaving a setback in numbers and acknowledgment. Lately, the average number of members showing up is less than half of what it was before 2020’s shutdown. The persistent regulars are striving for more club advertisement, snacks, and projects in the years to come, and hopefully recruiting more club-mates in the process. Facilitated by James Williams, language arts and news staff teacher, and Marni Spits, language arts and history teacher, the club stands as a safe place for anyone looking for a place to feel welcome.

“We’re strong but we’re few these days. There used to be thirty to forty folks in there, I think partly because of the momentum we had from past years. Partly because we had snacks and partly because we were working towards this thing in the spring – the dance,” said Williams, who took charge of GSA five years ago after the previous facilitator, Michelle Ness retired from Summit,  “With covid, we couldn’t meet, so it’s been a challenge to come back from that, to reclaim some momentum we used to have and without the prom thing I think those have all been strikes against us and I think we’re working to rebuild some momentum,”.

Gay prom in past years has been put together by those who had attended GSA, whether they were common goers or not, it was a project that was mostly student-led. This project stood as a bonding experience for club members to work on together. It’s a safe place for Central Oregon LGBTQ+ people to come together, whereas they may not feel comfortable going to their school prom. The last time the event was run was in 2019 but is planned to return next year, once more members are gained to coordinate Gay Prom. 

“We invite all the other area high schools. People come in from as far as Madras… it’s just a place where people can have fun and be with the rest of their crew,” Williams said. 

With more snacks and projects like Gay Prom and club advertising on the agenda for GSA next year, it’s more important than before to make sure everyone who wants to come has the opportunity. 

“It’s not great that the day GSA meets is the same as a lot of other clubs,” said sophomore Lilann Hammack, a regular club attendee. Having the club meet on the same day as others, like the Social Justice Club, could have left some people conflicted on which to attend. In future years, there will be further coordination to differentiate club days from others.

Having more visitors would add to the positive energy the club strives to create. 

“I would like to get our numbers back up, I would like it to be a known place and thing, where people can come and see each other… to see old friends, to make new friends, I do like keeping it open agenda wise,” Williams said. 

“I hope we get more members and create a safe environment within Summit for people of all sexualities and genders,” said sophomore Iben Orton, another GSA frequenter. 

For any Summit students, teachers or staff who were considering stopping by, GSA is a friendly, safe and relaxed space with no obligation to be consistently present. It can’t hurt to stop by, all are welcome.