GSTA Kicks Off the Year With Ice Cream Social

Oda Tiller-Bratteboe , Reporter

Friday, September 7th, the Gay Straight Trans Alliance (GSTA) 0f Manitou Springs High School organized and hosted an ice cream social at the Mustang Plaza. The goal of the social was to raise money, awareness and to collect clothing to donate to Inside Out: an organization which focuses on bringing awareness to issues surrounding youth homelessness. The ice cream social was also a way to introduce new members into the club, and not just from Manitou. Students from other schools– such as Coronado, Doherty and Rampart– also showed up.

The event was organized and headed by the GSTA executive board, consisting of Treasurer Ava Keller (11), Secretary Jody Read (11), Vice President Leo Wines (11) and President Kaitlyn Cashdollar (12). In total, there were around 50 students at the social. The GSTA collected a big pile of clothing, which they are keeping available for donations and pick-up in Amanda Kerrigan’s room for a couple of weeks before being donated to Inside Out. Any student in need of new clothes is welcome to take what they need.

The social was just the beginning: the GSTA is hosting several events throughout the year. The first one– a screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show– is planned for October. While the ice cream social was free, the screening is going to cost $3-5, but all the money collected goes straight to Inside Out’s Night Out For Youth Homelessness. This is an evening where volunteers sit through presentations and participate in simulations to learn about youth homelessness. Afterwards, they spend the night outside in sleeping bags to put into perspective what living as a homeless person is like. The Night Out is also on a Thursday, which means that the participants have to go to school the next day, further simulating what the reality of many young homeless people is like.

Cashdollar, the President of GSTA, has big plans for the club this year. She wants to focus more heavily on educating the community through events such as the Night Out and the Day of Silence. GSTA is open to everyone, LGBTQ+ or allies, and is meant to be a safe space for all. They meet in Mrs. Kerrigan’s room on Wednesdays during lunch.