PHS Inclusivity Club strives to support all students

Posted 4/5/22

PRESCOTT – Prescott High School is exploring new ways to bring awareness to inclusivity and mental health through a newer student-run club. “Our goal is to make the school a safer place for …

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PHS Inclusivity Club strives to support all students


PRESCOTT – Prescott High School is exploring new ways to bring awareness to inclusivity and mental health through a newer student-run club.

“Our goal is to make the school a safer place for everyone, not within just our inclusivity club but for the entire student body,” said senior and student leader Shayanne Stenroos.

The club is new this year, following discussions surrounding inclusivity during the 2020-2021 school year. Earlier this school year a mural was put up in a hallway at Prescott High School to promote inclusivity.

Student Maddie Tibayan is credited with digitally drawing the mural. Near it a plaque reads, “The inclusivity mural presented here acknowledges and celebrates influential figures from a variety of backgrounds. The achievements forged from perseverance, determination, and courage will inspire Prescott students to create a better world.”

After a positive response to the mural and added awareness days that were promoted each week, the student council realized the need for a specific club to take over and continue to support inclusivity in the school and in the community.

Seniors Shayanne Stenroos, Mallory Boles, Maya Quiroz, Shelby Sizemore and Elsie Dempsey-Rice all helped to create a foundation for what the club stands for and what their goals are for the future at PHS.

The club is currently planning some big events at their school. One project they are working on is their inclusivity bracelets. The club is inviting students to make bracelets or keychains and add charms that will signify different groups that they support.

Some of the beads will represent different mental illnesses and disorders such as depression, anxiety and ADHD, while other beads will represent other groups like LGBTQIA+. The goal for these bracelets is to make those who feel alone seen and heard.

Stenroos said, “The inclusivity bracelets, you’ll be able to put different colors on for different things like bullying, mental health, depression, anxiety and then allies, and we have different colors to choose from and it is just a way to show support and show that you are accepting.”

Another big event coming up for the club is their sexual assault awareness day. The group planned an assembly that will allow for awareness and education surrounding the topic. The club is organizing a student-made video that will be shown at the assembly, as well as a guest panel for those who have questions.

“For sexual assault awareness day on April 27 we are planning to do a student-made video and we’ll film and edit the video and it’ll include information and spread awareness behind sexual assault and we are hoping to be able to have students anonymously write down experiences and include that in the video,” Stenroos said.

At the event there students will have an opportunity to talk with representatives from Pierce County Public Health and the River Falls Sexual Assault Response Team.

The group would like to continue planning events with the goal to foster support and advocate for students of underrepresented, unrepresented or misrepresented groups.

“The goal of the club is to acknowledge those diversities within our school community and creating an environment where kids can be transparent and break down barriers surrounding walking down the hallway and feeling alone,” said Boles.

The club's advisor, PHS Dean of Students Rick Montreal, is proud of the new club’s accomplishments so far.

“This really is student driven,” Montreal said. “It has been really neat to be a part of; I was honored that I was able to be the advisor selected toward the middle of the year.”

The current senior members are hopeful to see change come from this club; the goal is to create a safer and more inclusive environment for students in the future.

“I work with elementary and middle school students and I see them expressing themselves in such different and unique ways and it is so powerful to see how confident they are in themselves from such a young age and I don’t want them to come up into our high school and feel like they can’t be themselves anymore,” said Stenroos. “I see it in some of the middle school students that I have known for a long time, that they know who they are and they feel passionately about who they are, and when they get to middle school they start to suppress themselves because they don’t want to feel judged and don’t feel accepted, so the goal is not for the present moment but more for the future.”

This club is also not aimed to be a political group within the school.

“We really put an emphasis on the fact that this isn’t supposed to be political,” Dempsey-Rice said. “We want people from all different backgrounds and we need multiple perspectives to help create an inclusive environment, it’s for everyone.”

After the group of seniors graduate this May, they hope to see a change and their legacy will be left with the students who will lead in the future. They are starting conversations in their community to break barriers and create a more accepting place for everyone.

Prescott High School Inclusivity Club members Shayanne Stenroos, Mallory Boles and Elsie Dempsey-Rice in front of the school’s inclusivity mural, illustrated by Maddie Tibayan. Photo by Melissa Thorud