By Emmagrace Brock | Reporter
Q: What are your names and pronouns?
Oliver Ott: My name is Oliver Ott and I use the pronouns they/them.
Ari Smith: I’m Ari Smith and I go by the pronouns he/she.
Amelia Hibdon: My name is Amelia Hibdon and I prefer the pronouns they/them and she/her.
Fletcher Clark: I’m Fletcher Clark and I use the pronouns they/them.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being in this club?
Ott: I like to be able to collaborate with other people that are accepting and kind to me and my peers.
Smith: I get to experience a place to unload and not have to worry about pretending to be something I’m not.
Hibdon: I like that the club is really accepting, and we have a lot of fun and learn about some of the history within our community.
Clark: I’m in a safe place and environment where I don’t hear the words gay or trans as an insult for once.
Q: What was your favorite thing about the previous years?
Ott: I liked how everything could get personal at times and was all right. Other times, it was educational and helpful so, I learned new things.
Smith: I liked having the good balance of being open and personal about things you maybe wouldn’t have shared with someone else. Then we would have time to de-stress, enjoy yourself and make new friends that aren’t going to suddenly call you names or stop talking to you just because you came out.
Hibdon: In the previous years, it was nice always getting guests in, hearing what their opinions and life experiences were. It helps us to connect with everyone in the room so, you know you feel safe. We can discuss anything we want without having to worry about anyone spreading it.
Clark: In the past years, I liked that I knew that what I was going to say would stay in the room whether it be good or bad.
Q: How do you feel in this club’s environment?
Ott: I feel very safe. If I say something personal about me nobody’s going to ridicule me for it or spread it to somebody I don’t want it to be spread to.
Smith: I feel pretty welcome. It’s fun for me to be able to experience how other people do being LGBT. Nobody experiences the same thing the same way and it’s interesting to see how everyone takes that in psychologically.
Hibdon: It’s nice because it feels like a second family. I can express myself in any way I want; everybody is friendly and can respect it.
Clark: I feel like I’m able to be myself, even around people I don’t really know, because we all have a mutual understanding as well as some of the same experiences.
Q: What have you experienced in this club that has inspired you?
Ott: I’ve found it inspiring that people are able to speak out about things that have happened to them. It’s very inspiring to see that they were able to push through that point in their life and to see that they are still here and with a positive outlook.
Smith: It’s inspiring to me to see how many LGBT youth have managed to speak to the older generation and has changed some negative outlooks.
Hibdon: This club has inspired me to be more open about a lot of things—maybe things I didn’t know about before through videos or writing. I’m a very creative person, so I may write a poem or something expressing what experiences we’d had together.
Clark: Being able to hear others people’s experiences with whatever they’re going through and their journey to come out or to never come out is inspirational to me. It’s cool to see each other fully accept and love each other when they’re down even if you barely know the person.
Q: Who was your favorite guest speaker and why?
Ott: I really liked when we had Pastor Grey come in because it was different to see somebody with a heavily religious background be on the spectrum.
Smith: I also really enjoyed when Pastor Grey came and spoke to us mainly because there’s this idea that you can’t be Christian and gay or an ally.
Clark: My favorite guest speaker was also Pastor Grey. He was able to show how you can still be religious and gay—it doesn’t have to be separate.
Q: What do you do at a typical meeting?
Ott: A typical meeting can really vary because the first few days are fun ice breakers and getting to know each other. Then they can get a little bit deep and personal and we do some educational things.
Q: What are you looking to accomplish this year?
Ott: I want to make sure that this club continues to be a safe environment for anybody at the school who chooses to attend—whether they are on the spectrum or an ally. I also want to make sure that nobody is scared to come to the club because of something that’s happened or because of a person in the club.
Smith: I want to get people to feel more safe talking about themselves whether they’re LGBT or not. I want it to be educational for those that are allies and to encourage people who don’t know a lot about the LGBT community. I want this year to focus more on suicide prevention, how to deal with and prevent bullying, and how to cope with mental illnesses.
Hibdon: I want to help accomplish keeping up our attendance how it should be instead of it slowly diminishing throughout the year.
Clark: I want to make GSA a place for newer people and for people where GSA is the only place where they can be themselves.
Q: How do you plan to keep up attendance rates?
Ott: I feel like last year people dropped out because a lot of the meeting were strictly educational. This year, if we keep it educational but we also make it interactive and fun, it will hopefully keep people interested and make them want to come back.
Smith: I think one way we can really increase attendance is if we host some events where we can make the club seem less like a class and more like a family.
Q: How will you advertise your club?
Ott: I feel like the club can have more visibility than just the announcements. I suggest that we could have posters about what we’re doing at meetings.
Smith: We could go beyond just posters and get the news to come and interview us personally on the announcements.
Q: What are your plans this year?
Ott: This year, I want to have a better dance that people actually come to. I think it would be neat to invite other GSAs from neighboring schools.
Smith: Most of our plans this year will consist of the dance and more events outside of school. We have the GSA summit and we take part in the pride parade.