HONORING ACCEPTANCE & PROMOTING ANTI-BULLYING
Hebron Academy Celebrates Day of Silence
Hebron Academy recently celebrated the Day of Silence, a nationwide event that spotlights awareness, support and recognition of the statistics of bullying and challenges of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, queer) student community.
Members of the school's gay, straight, and transgender alliance (GSTA) organized Hebron's Day of Silence. The celebration included educational announcements, the posting of personal messages of support, and the opportunity to be silent for the day to experience and reflect on what it might feel like to not be accepted for who you are. Students and faculty wore tie-dyed t-shirts or the color purple in support of the event as well. At the end of the day, the community "Broke the Silence" by ringing the Hebron Victory Bell.
"Hebron is a diverse and welcoming community with students from the local community and from all around the world. It is a community that respects differences -- different religious affiliations and varying political points of view as well as sexual orientation and gender identification," says Head of School Dan Marchetti. "It is a tenet of our school that we do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, gender, disability, race, religion or sexual orientation."
Julie Middleton, Associate Director of Admission and a GSTA faculty advisor adds, "As educators, we believe it is fundamental that students feel welcome and safe in order to thrive and learn to their greatest potential." Hebron students created the GSTA in the late 1990s to provide an organization that promotes equity among all members of the Hebron community, and to establish safe spaces across campus. Although there are faculty advisors, the GSTA is a predominantly a student-run organization that gives voice to the ongoing concerns of the LGBTQ community here and across the country.
Adrianna Mainville a senior at Hebron from Amesbury, MA, and long time member of the GSTA, said, "I have friends who are gay or otherwise, and I want them to know that their sexual identity or preference doesn't matter. We are friends and we are here for each other."
ABOUT THE DAY OF SILENCE
In 1996, students at the University of Virginia organized the first Day of Silence in response to a class assignment on non-violent protests with over 150 students participating. In 1997, organizers took their effort national and nearly 100 colleges and universities participated. Today, the Day of Silence has reached students in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as those as far away as New Zealand, Singapore and Russia.