SAGA made great strides this year

In the past year, SAGA has made an immense amount of progress not only as an advocacy club but as a social community. The group has faced several challenges in reaching this point, and so as the school year of 2021-2022 rolls to a close and the majority of the current SAGA leadership prepares to graduate, the following article is a dedication to a group that I am proud to have been a part of for the past three years, not only as a leader but as a member of the community. 

Before the review, here is a brief summary of the group to this point. SAGA began in 2017 as a student lead group that would bring acceptance and awareness to the LGBTQIA+ students at CFHS while also opening up a space where non-queer individuals could come to learn about the identities within the community and the struggles faced by those who aligned themselves with the aforementioned identities. The group has worked hard to get where it is now, with leadership positions changing hands a few times to accommodate the graduation of past leaders. This is how we have situated ourselves in our current leadership team. With leadership being made up currently of Nichole Taylor, Phoenix King, Charlie VanHooreweghe, Maddie Hoelscher, Sal Engle, Aussie Hawsworth, DeeDee Benton, Ursula Hakanson, Eden Davis, Julia Hawsworth, Elliot Purdum and Elliot Martin, but this is only the latest team. At the beginning of the year, SAGA was running with half those names, almost no ability to compromise and very low expectations for how the year was gonna go. 

So, let’s rewind. It’s August 2021, and the team is just Taylor, King, VanHooreweghe, Hoelscher, Engle and Davis, with Haworth being the first addition sometime in the early fall. Last year had been pretty much a trainwreck due to COVID and a lack of training, but still, the group met up in the counselor’s office to set the stage. After two or so leadership meetings leaders, headed into room 106 not expecting much, but they were pleasantly surprised to see a classroom of kids waiting to learn about this group and the community it stood for. 

Jumping ahead to October, SAGA held its first Halloween party and established itself as a group that was both fun and factual. With candies and Kahoot!, the party goes off without a hitch. Then in December, a holiday party with cookies and crafts furthered the mood of a laid-back celebration. Moving on to February, the group collaborated with a school in Sioux City to do a mix of black and queer history. Presenting on the lovely Marsha.P.Johnson and her contributions, the group established itself as a safe place for all. In the following months, the groups talked about mental health, legislation, activism, taking a break, the importance of activism for the collective, recognition for those who built our community, respect for others, our history, queer celebrities, slur meanings, queer representation in media, select identities and so much more. 

Of course, that is really just a bare-bones summary of the club’s activities, and the year isn’t over yet. The leaders have so much left planned, and next year plans to be just as eventful. From conferences to walkouts. From presentations to days taken off for mental health. SAGA is a group that won’t die out anytime soon. We are a strong organization with a connection that many others won’t understand. No matter how much we fight, we still stand together, and now we’re standing here with less than 50 days left. 

While we are going on strong, we have to face some facts. Our leadership is getting ready to split up once more, with new leaders stepping up to lead the next generation of queer activists, but since they have been here so long, let’s end this out with a message from SAGA senior leaders.

“SAGA is a special place. You go there not because you need something to do, but because you want to be a part of something greater than yourself. SAGA is a place of learning, advocacy and acceptance. SAGA is a place we all hold near and dear to our hearts, and we can’t wait to see how it grows after we’re gone. Goodbye, kids. We love you, idiots. Keep making the world a better place.”

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