KLSD Celebrates Pride

Age-appropriate celebrations across the district

“What color comes next?” “It’s blue, green, yellow, orange, right?”

The students in John Jay Middle School’s SAGA (Sexuality and Gender Alliance) club were painting Pride colors on bamboo to decorate the school’s entrance. They knew that blue represented harmony, yellow stood for sunlight, and orange symbolized healing. Standing a few feet back, they looked appreciatively at their finished work.

This June, for the first time, all Katonah-Lewisboro Schools are celebrating Pride Month in age-appropriate ways, including flying a Pride flag in front of each building. “In this way, we continue our work of ensuring that every person in our school community experiences the strongest possible sense of belonging in our schools,” said Superintendent Andrew Selesnick.

SAGA club advisor honored by Westchester County

Pride Month particularly meaningful for high school club

For members of John Jay High School’s SAGA club, the acknowledgement of Pride Month is particularly meaningful.

Physics teacher Dan Longhurst, advisor to the high school’s SAGA club, calls his work a joy and a privilege. “I enjoy knowing that kids come to meetings simply just to feel safe and to know that they are among people who accept them for who they are,” said Longhurst.

His work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community was recognized this year at Westchester County’s Pride celebration.

Pride means "acceptance and individuality"

When Longhurst asked SAGA members what Pride meant to them, students used the phrases “safety and security,” “acceptance and individuality” and “love and hope.”

“When we held a day of silence, I was surprised by the amount of Pride stickers that students throughout the school were wearing; it made many people (including myself) feel safe, and welcome to be ourselves,” wrote Apryl.

“Pride Month gives me a sense of self-worth and the ability to stop hiding from myself,” said Naomi. “Pride helped me find myself, and people I relate to.”

pride means kindness and respect

In elementary schools, the Pride is folded into celebrating all the different kinds of families and relationships that exist in our world, and learning to appreciate and accept people for who they are.

Colorful bulletin boards display the accomplishments and contributions of members of the LGBTQ+ community, highlighting public figures including soccer super star Megan Rapinoe and United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigeg.

Elementary School bulletin board

Feeling comfortable to be their true selves

This Wednesday, John Jay High School will be filled with students and teachers wearing rainbow shirts, thanks to the colorful flyer created by the SAGA club. The following day, the middle school’s SAGA club will enjoy rainbow cake and skittles.

“My goal is to make a place where kids feel comfortable to be their true selves and feel accepted and joyful,” said art teacher and SAGA club advisor Kendra Collins. “I’m proud of the students in the club—and proud to be a part of their lives.”