Alliance sets goals, makes plans for school year

Creating a place where kids feel comfortable

As+part+of+a+prayer+circle+in+June%2C+students+gathered+at+the+Catholic+Center+in+Downtown+Indianapolis.+Junior+Brooklynn+Thorpe+spoke+at+the+event+and+has+taken+on+a+leadership+role+in+the+school%27s+Alliance+Club.+She+and+the+club+moderators%2C+English+teachers+Mrs.+Liz+Browning+and+Mr.+Jim+Hanna%2C+said+they+expect+a+more+involved+and+focused+organization+as+a+result+of+the+events+that+occurred+over+the+summer.+

Photo submitted

As part of a prayer circle in June, students gathered at the Catholic Center in Downtown Indianapolis. Junior Brooklynn Thorpe spoke at the event and has taken on a leadership role in the school’s Alliance Club. She and the club moderators, English teachers Mrs. Liz Browning and Mr. Jim Hanna, said they expect a more involved and focused organization as a result of the events that occurred over the summer.

Jameson Browne and Nic Napier

The Alliance Club is hoping to be more visible and active this year due to student interest and the events that occurred over the summer. Club moderator Mr. Jim Hanna, who is a member of the English department, explained that many students have expressed an interest at the beginning of the school year in wanting to get involved. “A lot of people are excited to make their voices heard,” he said. 

Hanna is working with fellow teachers and club moderators Spanish teacher Mrs. Karen Hovanec and English teacher Mrs. Liz Browning to help make the Alliance a place where kids feel comfortable. 

“The club’s purpose is to offer a safe place for kids to talk about gender and sexuality. It is a place to come together to make changes in policy and awareness for diversity,” he said. Hanna expects the Alliance to help students come together and offer support for one another.

During the year, the club is hoping to coordinate some meetings with similar groups from other schools such as Brebeuf Jesuit, Roncalli and Guerin Catholic. Another goal for the Alliance is to become more involved around school. 

Working with other organizations 

“We want to work with and be more a part of the Embrace Club and Student Unions,” he said. They are looking to work with these students to offer support and talk about diversity. Hanna is also hopeful that some money will be raised in support of former German teacher Mr. Joshua Payne-Elliot throughout the year.

Hanna said he believes that the support from the administration is strong for the Alliance. 

He said, “We are definitely feeling we have the ability to do some fundraising and take action,” he said. No fundraisers are currently planned, but they expect to work on that at some point.

Recruiting members should not be a significant challenge as Hanna said he feels that people who are aware of the issues will reach out to join. He says anyone is welcome as long as they are open to diversity and want to make a change.

Junior Brooklynn Thorpe, the president of the Alliance Club, through an email explained her opinion on the value of the student organization.

Thorpe wrote, “I think the club is going to be important this year because of our situation over the summer. We have to show, now more than ever, to incoming students, current students, parents, alumni and teachers, that we do stand with you and that you are not alone. (This club) has to show that this is not who Cathedral is, and that we do not discriminate but that we foster an environment for all to feel safe in no matter what.”

She has several plans for this year that she shared as well.

“This year we plan to help out, not only in our school, but in our community as well. In our school we are establishing a more frequent and regular meeting time for the year. We are also looking into doing safe zone training at our school with the students and teachers so that we can be properly prepared to accommodate every students’ needs with their sexuality and identity, while making everyone feel comfortable and safe. 

“We are also hoping to be able to be a part of the EMBRACE assembly and showcase why we need to embrace all people, including those in the LGBTQIA+ community, and how we can become better about the words we use and (learn) how it can negatively affect others.

“Finally, in our community, we hope to be able to do fundraising for Trinity Haven, which is a teen house for LGBTQIA+ teens who have been kicked out (of their homes) and have nowhere to go, and hopefully with the help of new members we can come up with any more ideas to help throughout the school (year).”

Club leader expresses passion

Thorpe noted how she was passionate about this club and was hopeful that reigniting the group would be helpful for everyone. 

“I wanted to lead Alliance Club because I saw how, through my freshman and sophomore year, people were not coming to the club for many different reasons including fearing to be made fun of. I wanted to show people that no matter who you are and how you identify, (it) doesn’t matter because this is a club for all.”