A signature feature of New Hampton School is its inclusive, unpretentious community, where students can truly be themselves. As part of October’s LGBTQ month celebration, New Hampton School’s student-run Gay Straight Transgender Alliance (GSTA) organized a student mixer with nearby schools. They also organized school-wide events to raise awareness and educated the whole community.
A GSTA Mixer
For students, the purpose of the event was to create a safe place where GSTA members could get to know each other, swap GSTA ideas, discuss LGBTQ-related campus issues and make meaningful peer connections. New Hampton School’s GSTA, a close-knit group in a supportive community, was eager to build connections and provide support for other LGBTQ students, outside of our community.
With the help of School Counselor Ms. Lea, the first Mixer was organized to include fellow New Hampshire schools and GSTA groups. Nearby boarding schools in attendance included Holderness School, St Paul’s School, Brewster Academy, and White Mountain School. In total, there were 23 students from other schools and eight New Hampton School students, plus supportive faculty, staff, and friends. Once the event was established, it was up to New Hampton students to organize activities and engage their peers.
Celebrating LGBTQ Month
A variety of activities filled the month of October to help grow awareness and support for the LGBTQ community. On National Coming Out Day (October 11th) students “chalked the walks” and decorated the school paths and pavement with messages about inclusivity, love, equality, and pride. A school meeting presentation by GSTA students was themed “Love is Love” and members of the GSTA presented to their peers about LGBTQ history, progress and initiatives. Rainbow stickers featuring the New Hampton School husky head were distributed at lunch, and the school served 200 rainbow cupcakes decorated with rainbow flags and hearts.
Following a great day on campus, the student led agenda for the Mixer included icebreakers, small group discussions (including Queerness in other countries, dorm inter-visitation policies, heteronormativity and under-represented sexualities/genders), and a social with photos, music, ice-cream and crafts. New Hampton School students also showcased their enthusiasm and leadership with opening and closing remarks reflecting on the importance of a supportive network of friends and community.
This is What We Do Here
“Our students were really proud to host this event and create community,” shares Ms. Lea, “For me, it was powerful to communicate that ‘this is what we do here.’ New Hampton School may be known for its athletic talent and casual dress code, but we should also be known as an inclusive community that not only allows people to be who they are, but celebrates people for their uniqueness.”
Griffen Goldstock ’18, a Student Leader and member of the GSTA remarks “An event like this is very important because it helps us make connections with other groups at other schools. As a freshman, I could only dream of an event like this, but now as a senior it is actually happening and that is really special.”