The High Hopes

Apathy and passivity are the subversive agents of change and progress. Statements such as “there is no straight parade” and “all lives matter” work in tandem with these agents under the guise that enough has been done to fight for equality and that society should lay down its arms and be content with that which has been won.


As a teacher, I marvel at the dynamic and imaginative minds of students in our school. They are far more ‘woke’ and engaged than my peers and I were back in my school days. Having grown up in a conservative farming community, I can recognize and appreciate the oppressive connotations of the word ‘normal’ and how its projection can undermine the confidence of youth. In high school, boys were all about the largest belt buckle, the biggest truck and the absence of vulnerability. A hypermasculine veneer permeated the corridors and a survival instinct was rife. Gendered shaming of girls using pejorative statements about their sexuality was commonplace. Tolerance for difference was supported somewhat in the classroom but when that bell rang, convergent thinking was the victor and bullying was the spoils.


Do we have parallel experiences at our school? I’d like to say no but it is easy for teachers to build an idealistic narrative around ideas of progress and acceptance, especially when we compare our own stories. In many ways, the commitment to improvement and self-improvement by staff, students, and our community at-large is impressive. However, my involvement in the Pride Alliance service group this past year has revealed there is a considerable amount of work to be done and that we cannot expect students to bear the brunt of it. We must remain committed to spotlighting injustice, challenging convergent prejudice and celebrating diversity. Each of these aspects requires constant action. An idle approach to change will never lead to a better self, a better school or a better world.


Still, I remain hopeful and inspired by the actions of students and staff in our school to educate, inform and inspire our community. This issue of ‘The High’ is an impressive feat and highlights the courage of so many talented advocates for equality. It carries the weight and voice of the great LGBTQ+ activist Harvey Milk: “Hope will never be silent.” This newspaper is emblematic of a vocal hope that is neither passive nor silent. It is loud and proud and a good reminder to our community to advocate for what we believe in and speak our truth.