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Sturgis High School's Gay-Straight Alliance has a good first year

Four people sit at a light brown wooden table, two students and two adult volunteers. Libby, front left, has bright purple hair and wears a purple sundress with orange and white flowers. Kalea, front right, has red and black hair and wars a bright teal sundress with white flowers dotted throughout. In the back sits the two adult volunteers, Kara and Lou. Kara is at the back left, she has graying brown hair and wears light gray overalls over a green short sleeve shirt. Lou sits on the back right, with a black short sleeve shirt.
Michael Symonds
Libby Tullos, front left, and Kalea Faulk, front right, have had each other for support throughout their time at Sturgis High School, but when they realized their fellow LGBTQ+ students didn't have that support, they decided to make a change.

Students say support was a difficult thing to find for many LGBTQ+ students at Sturgis High School, so they got together to provide it.

The end of the school year marked the end of the first year of the Gay Straight Alliance at Sturgis High School.

Libby Tullos is one of the students behind the club. She said the representation the group brings will go a long way in the small St. Joseph County town.

“It's such a big thing, because in such little towns like ours, there isn't very much support. It's very, like, ‘we do things one way, and that doesn't need to be changed.’ But that change needs to be made.”

Tullos added that the group has gained 12 members since it began last fall.

Fellow student and co-founder Kalea Faulk said that while their role as a leader of the group can be difficult at times, they’re proud to provide a safe space for students questioning their sexual orientation or identity.

“I love being able to represent it and bring light to it, instead of having it be this hidden shame that you should have.”

Lou Rogers is an adult volunteer for the group.  

“To think that we could have something now to support kids that we didn't have when I was younger, I think it's pretty amazing," Rogers said.

To celebrate the group's success, local LGBTQ+ group Sturgis Pride plans to make the Gay-Straight Alliance the theme of its float for the Sturgis Fest parade on June 21st.                   

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.