On April 30th S.T.A.N.D ( Wateville High School’s GSA) volunteered in Waterville health classes in order to educate students on LGBTQ Vocabulary and ideas. Along with Stand members, Colby College’s Bridge members came to discuss the tough subjects and offer real life examples and stories. Health is a course every high school student is required to take, thus it is the perfect place for S.T.A.N.D and Bridge to impact and inform the entire school. The volunteers led activities and discussions that raised stereotypes, assumptions, and interesting ideals.
The Class began with introductions, followed by a game in which the students were asked questions and must move from one side of the room to another; left side indicating “yes” and right “no”. This activity got the students moving, becoming more relaxed, and thinking about LGBTQ topics. The next activity had groups of students drawing different stereotypes such as; a typical gay man, lesbian, and straight couple. This activity showcased the limits of stereotypes, the faults of assumptions, and the harsh thoughts of society. The Class ended with an opportunity for the students to ask questions to be answered by the Colby and Waterville volunteers and for previously submitted question to be answered for the class. This allowed for the students to clear up any confusion and share personal stories.
Ms. Fowler, Waterville High’s health teacher, concluded that S.T.A.N.D put on a “great presentation”, “the kids learned a lot”, and she’d “absolutely do it again.” She stated that “students like doing the stereotype exercise” and “the workshop is definitely beneficial because it fits in the curriculum of relationships and sexuality.” Ms. Fowler indicated that different activities should be used for Waterville Junior High to focus on name calling. She said “The stereotype activity is a great activity to focus on with the younger kids.” Ms. Fowler’s tips were for “more personal activities”, “the use of Colby kids who are willing to talk about themselves”, and “incorporate discussions about experiences.” Ms. Fowler liked the creativeness and amusement of the drawings but felt that something more personal could be more effective; like the use of “hypothetical situations and real personal experiences.”
The members that participated helped reach a larger audience by using the school curriculum and using positive learning techniques. This year’s health classes helped to shape the future S.T.A.N.D workshops and further integrate S.T.A.N.D the school environment. All and all it was an experience that the S.T.A.N.D members were proud of and will grow from.