A Community of Students

by John Alecca

There is no question that the lives of students were filled with many doubts, fears, and yes, a few tears, especially for older middle and high school students. The senior classes have lost their final year that is usually filled with rituals, proms, rallies, and homecomings.  This group of students above all have shown perseverance, and they deserve to be seen and heard.

We worked with various upper grade students to rebuild a sense of school community, to provide a safe space to share their voice, and to express themselves through the arts.

High School Murals

Senior classes at both East Palo Alto Academy and El Camino High have taken a 6-week workshop in preparation for a mural installation on the campus of their respective schools. These murals are a lasting tribute to their endurance, and in finding ways to work together while staying apart.

Amplifying Voices 

Work has never stopped with our I Am/We Are project using the power of the arts to bring a message of inclusion, understanding and acceptance by sharing stories and experiences with middle and high school students through dance, music, and theater.  

Through the I Am/We Are project, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus provides a series of workshops and virtual performances that combines live and pre-recorded content that focuses on social and emotional well-being, and expressing your authentic self. 

To date, the chorus has delivered 8 performances with interactive highlights from students sharing their own hopes and dreams for their community and their schools, including a Live Broadcast Performance in partnership with our Young Audiences affiliates in Boston, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; Denver, Colorado; and Kansas City, Missouri.  The student-led Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA) at various high schools from each city shared their thoughts and voices to the broadcast.

Featured image: The final mural installation at East Palo Alto Academy (photo by Gilyon Brace-Wessel)