© Paul Daly photo
Members of the Corner Brook Regional High Pride Alliance are pictured at the URock Awards. From left (front), Kendra Wheeler, Madison MacNeil, Jordan Joseph and Sophie Arsenault. From left (back), Gerard Lowe, guidance counsellor; Kelsey Street, Mick Jefferies, Alexandra Wicks and teacher Stephanie Pennell.
In an ever-evolving society, the Corner Brook Regional High Pride Alliance may go down in history as “legends” in terms of setting the standard of acceptance and inclusion.
Thursday evening, the alliance was already recognized as a legend by the provincial government. The school-based group that promotes awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, and queer (LGBTQ) issues was presented with a 2014 URock volunteer award.
Kelsey Street, a Level 3 student at the Corner Brook high school, was one of the seven members of the alliance to travel to Mount Pearl for the annual celebration of young leaders by the Office of Public Engagement.
“We were very excited and very happy to be recognized for the things that we do,” she said. “There was only eight awards given, and we were the only group. It was really cool.”
Formed in September 2012, the group actively promoted and participated in the Corner Brook Pride March and encouraged faculty, students and staff at Corner Brook Regional High to show their pride on Pink Day — a day to promote anti-bullying awareness and acceptance of all students.
The group promotes education, awareness building and has created a safe space for LGBTQ youth and their allies. The group has also conducted extensive outreach to regional schools and created a tool kit to assist student groups in establishing their own gay-straight alliance.
This year the group hosted the first provincial high school gay-straight alliance conference. Provincial government dignitaries, school board officials and about 120 students attended the landmark event.
Street said it is important to have organizations such as the pride alliance in schools throughout the province.
“There’s a lot of people who can’t be themselves,” she said. “It helps people be able to come out, feel safe, and feel like they have that support and are not alone.”
Nominations for the 2014 URock Awards are divided in two categories, individuals and youth-led non-profit organizations. Established in 2010, the URock Awards have recognized 32 individuals and organizations for their volunteer achievements.
Richard Churchill of Clarenville, Raylene Mackey of Goulds, Natasha Noel of St. John’s, Melissa Thomas of Mount Pearl, Fallon Piercey of Conception Bay, Donald Slaney of St. Lawrence and Chanelle Cluett of Labrador were the other award winners.