As students settle into the new school year, one question has arisen: Where are the affinity groups?
One thing Tigard has always promoted is the importance of student safety, making sure students feel comfortable no matter who they are, and making sure they have the resources to do so. Tigard even created the position of Equity Advisor at the school.
“Equity recognizes that not everything needs the same thing,” Equity Advisor Rob Parness said. “Some people have advantages and some people have disadvantages. At this school what our equity work looks like is people getting together and making sure each student and each group is getting the support they need to be successful.”
One way the school promotes equity is by having multiple affinity groups for the diverse students at our school. Affinity is the feeling of closeness and similarity with someone because they share the ideas, interests, experiences, and background. The Genders and Sexuality Alliance, or GSA, is one of the many popular groups.
“[The GSA] is a community space for LGBTQ+ community here at Tigard High School,” the GSA Advisor Michael Scher said. “It’s a chance for students to come together, to share experiences, to identify with each other on their challenges and successes. It’s a chance for kids who traditionally have been marginalized to come together and to be in space together, laugh, cry, and share stuff.”
Members agreed that this was one of the main reasons why they had joined.
“ [I] wanted to be able to see there were more students like me and have a place to experiment with my identity,” President of GSA Sam Pearson said.
The GSA also provides opportunities for students to educate themselves and spread awareness about certain issues.
“In the past those students have led the national day of silence, they’ve led Trans Awareness Day, LGBTQ+ Day, Pride Month,” Scher continued. “We are working on those students attending some workshops or creating workshops they can lead on campus here.”
For those who are interested in joining, reach out to the President of the affinity group, Sam Pearson. The group meets Mondays after school by the Learning Stairs, but the location will be changing soon.
Interested in learning more about not just the GSA but other groups at Tigard? Attend Club Rush on Wednesday, Oct. 13. Each group will have a booth set up where you can access more information about their focus, and you will be given a chance to sign up for a club as well. If you yourself have been looking for a group where you share similarities with others, check out the other affinity groups at Tigard.
Other Affinity Groups at Tigard High School:
Asian Student Union
Black Student Union
Indigenous Peoples Club (not yet confirmed)
Middle Eastern/Arab Student Union
Pacific Islanders Club