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2008 Celebration of Leadership
Check out the pictures from our 12th annual Celebration of Leadership Awards Banquet!
This year’s keynote speakers were Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and
Executive Director Steven Goldberg of CUNA Mutual Group. Thank you to
everyone for making the 2008 Celebration of Leadership a great success!
This year 394 educators, students, business, political and other
leaders attended our celebration. Gold Circle Sponsors of the event
were: William Wartmann, Cohen-Leddy & Grossberg-Ziemke Families,
Cuna Mutual Group, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, Amcore Bank and
2008 Celebration of Leadership Student Scholarship Recipients
Filer is described as an activist student who has endeavored to create
an informed and safe environment at Evansville High School. She has
increased awareness of LGBT issues by organizing the Day of Silence
observation at EHS, including a viewing of The Laramie Project.
Providing morning announcements publicizing upcoming activities and
highlighting historical perspectives on LGBT issues, have insured that
her school’s GSA is heard daily. She has also developed posters
promoting respect, tolerance and diversity and encouraging student
attendance at GSA meetings. Her advertisement of the organization and
reaching out to new members contributes to a growing campus
organization. Furthermore, she organized a group of students, entirely
on her own, to attend the GSA for Safe Schools Conference this year.
Angela believes that her efforts assist her community’s continuing
movement toward fairness and equality. She looks forward to attending
the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.
Stratton started working on LGBT issues as a freshmen, after being
elected treasurer of the River Falls High School GSA. That began his
commitment to future leadership roles within the organization, and a
promise to nurture it until it was flourishing. Seth became president
his junior year, raising attendance from five to 40 members and
increasing participation in the National Day of Silence from 50 to 130
students. In addition, he served as high school representative to the
UW-River Falls GSA, bringing both GSA’s together around a Unity in the
Community diversity event at the college. It is now an annual field
trip. Seth also volunteered for Fair Wisconsin and worked with the Youth
Advisory Council to educate young voters about making gay marriage
legal. He has learned that diversity is more than a struggle; it
strengthens our bonds with each other. This fall Seth will attend
attended his first GSA meeting in seventh grade and has been involved
with the queer community ever since. Whether organizing Day of Silence,
presenting to health classes or working to get gender neutral bathrooms
established, Miles has been a driving force behind making Madison West
High School a safer and more inclusive environment for all students.
Outside of school, Miles has helped plan numerous GSA conferences and
was one of five Peer Mentors at Leadership Training Institute 2007. An
athlete as well as an activist, Miles helped to co-found Young Queer
Sports Club, an organization where LGBT high schoolers could explore
their athleticism in a fun and open setting. Miles plans to continue his
involvement with LGBT organizations when he attends the University of
Minnesota-Twin Cities in the fall to pursue a double major in
mathematics and graphic design.
her four years at Hartford Union High School, Cassie has met adversity
head on and overcome many obstacles. When she was told that students
could not participate in Day of Silence, she worked with lawyers from
the ACLU to convince her administrators otherwise. As Student
Facilitator of her GSA, she has found herself on more than one occasion
being interviewed by local papers or speaking in front of her school
board. In 2006, she signed up to be a Student Representative with Fair
Wisconsin and spent Election Day knocking on doors in Milwaukee,
encouraging people to vote against the ban on civil unions and marriage.
This past summer, Cassie returned for her third Leadership Training
Institute to play the role of Senior Mentor, working with other students
to design and facilitate the three-day retreat. Cassie will attend
Lakeland College in the fall, with hopes of someday being a high school
teacher and GSA advisor.
2008 Celebration of Leadership Community Activist Award Recipients
his role as the co-facilitator of both Teens Like Us (TLU) and TopTEN
might be part time, Craig has had a full-time impact on the lives of
hundreds of LGBT and questioning youth. Weekly TLU meetings provide
opportunities for both support and socializing while TopTEN allow youth
to develop and deliver peer education programs and workshops. Both
groups are programs of Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin in Madison.
Craig is also a constant at GSAFE student events and helped develop HIV
prevention curriculum for students and GSAs. Youth always come first for
Craig. Youth see him as a mentor and role model and credit him for
helping them reach a happy and healthy young adulthood. Through his
tireless work he has taught young people confidence, self-respect, and
resiliency. By example Craig has helped hundreds of teens come out and
understand that it is more than merely okay to be gay.
helping restart her GSA in 7th grade Isabel (secretly) applied for –
and was offered -- a position on the GLSEN National Jump-Start Student
Leadership Team. As both a Co-Chair and Coordinator Isabel spent three
years training students across the country how to organize for safe
schools, and even appeared on Oprah. Back in Madison as a GSAFE student
leader she regularly demonstrates how to organize across identities and
has tirelessly educated others about the consequences of privilege and
oppression. This Madison West High School student has also advanced
statewide understanding about the needs of transgender youth and LGBT
youth of color. As Youth Artistic Director for Proud Theater, a
Madison-based LGBTQA youth-lead theater troupe, she works hard to ensure
the group provides support, learning opportunities, and creative
outlets for its performers. In schools and communities across both state
and country Isabel has inspired artists to dream and activists to
organize. She looks forward to attending Hampshire College and living
her life in pursuit of social justice.
2008 Celebration of Leadership Educator Award Recipient
the years UW-Madison School of Education professor Colleen Capper has
taught more than one thousand k-12 administrators and staff about the
challenges faced by LGBT youth as well as published articles about this
population for both the public and school professionals. GSAFE staff
regularly works with school professionals across Wisconsin who have been
taught, moved, inspired, and challenged by Colleen over the past 18
years to make real change for LGBT and other marginalized youth.
Colleen’s recent writings detail her research on the impact of sexually
degrading name-calling on middle and high school boys perceived by their
peers to be gay. In addition Colleen has risen over $12,000 for GSAFE
by swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles in the
last four Madison Ironman competitions. She does this because, as she
puts it, “School should not have to be an endurance event for LGBT
GSAFE Student & Staff Honored
GSAFE student leader Cassie Williamson and Program Assistant Tim Michael have been recognized by Diverse and Resilient
for their work to foster big lives for Wisconsin LGBT youth. Diverse
and Resilient is a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization dedicated to
the healthy development of LGBT people in Wisconsin.
Cassie Williamson, a senior at Hartford-Union High School, received
the Youth Leadership Award in recognition of her ongoing work to raise
awareness about LGBT issues in her school. Since her freshman year
Cassie has had to regularly struggle to win permission for HUHS students
to observe Day of Silence, which included bringing in the ACLU to
address students' first amendment rights. Now a senior, she has been a
leader in the Wisconsin GSA movement and has regularly taught her peers
how to stand up for their rights.
Tim Michael, who joined GSAFE last May as a
full-time staff member, was awarded the Youth Development Specialist
Award for his above-and-beyond dedication to GSAs and the student
leaders who help plan GSAFE's numerous youth
conferences and events. Youth leaders describe him as a sincere and
great listener who really understands young people. He has been vital
in supporting the growth and development of long-time and fledgling GSAs
across the state and has helped GSAFE to double the number of youth directly involved in planning and delivering our student programs.
Congratulations and thanks to both Cassie and Tim!
Congratulations to Colleen Capper!
Recently Colleen Capper learned she was one of 150
people to win a lottery to participate in the Ironman World Championship
in Kona, Hawaii this October! Colleen, who is our 2008 Educator of the
Year, will include her tireless support of LGBT students in her Kona
venture. Yes, she will once again be raising funds for GSAFE. Back home
we’ll be cheering and recalling her quote, “School should not have to be an endurance event.”
Walk/Run/Eat Has Great Turnout
On Saturday, October 13th, GSA for Safe Schools held its first walk/run event
since 2004. The weather was perfect, the crowd was full of energy, and the food was amazing.
We had more than 70 runners take part in the 5K, and nearly 100 people strolled, rolled or
power-walked the 1-mile course. Results for the 5K run can be viewed here. Here are more photos of the walk, run and eating.
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make the Walk/Run/Eat such a great event, and thank you
to Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation, Frontrunners and Frontwalkers of Madison, David and
Brodie at Berkeley Running Company, Bjørn Holtan of Training with Bjørn, and Sue Ryan, who designed
the Walk/Run/Eat brochure and t-shirt.
An extra special thanks goes out to the Walk/Run/Eat planning group: Brad Krueger, Jordan Bingham,
Linda Halsey, and Jaime Reich. We couldn't have done this without you.
And last but not least, thank you to Queen Anne's Catering who, in addition to printing all of
the Walk/Run/Eat brochures, created and donated a fantastic lunch for the nearly 250 participants
of this event. You're the best!
GSAFE Recognizes Banned Books Week
GSA for Safe Schools, along with local literacy and education advocates,
media figures and free speech defenders recognized Banned Books Week by reading selections from classic literature and other books that have
been challenged or banned in our nation on Thursday, September 27th. Madison GSA
student activist Bailey Roberts read from the often-challenged
children's book "And Tango Makes Three" at this event organized by the
ACLU of Wisconsin.
Capper Again Raises Funds for GSAFE--Wisconsin Ironman IV
Congratulations to Colleen Capper for completing her fourth Ironman Wisconsin! Thank you
for making us a part of your amazing feat, and thank you to everyone who contributed to the
"Capper Ironman Fundraiser."
was filled with stories of courage, struggle, celebration, and inspiration.
Johnny Winston delivers keynote address at COL 2007
Scholarship and Award Recipients
Past Award Recipients Tell Their Stories
This year's Celebration of Leadership
drew about 350 people, including high school and middle school
students, school professionals, community leaders, corporate leaders and
people of all ages who care about the present and future of our youth.
Johnny Winston, Madison Metropolitan School Board member gave a
dynamic keynote address. He praised GSAFE for countering harassment and
bullying in schools.
Every year, GSA for Safe Schools awards four Wisconsin high school seniors with scholarships for the
amazing work they've done to make their schools and communities safe for LGBTQ youth and their straight
allies. These four students will be honored and recognized for their achievements at the Celebration of
Leadership at the Monona Terrace. In addition to the scholarships, the Celebration of Leadership honors
one person with the Community Activist Award, and one person with the Educator Award. This year's
scholarship and award recipients are:
GSA for Safe Schools Scholarships
Ellie Crean - Madison East High School
Jared Genova - Madison Shabazz High School
Teddi Hereid - Mount Horeb High School
Ben Pollok - Middleton High School
Community Activist Award
Kat Miller - Madison East High School
Beth Franklin - Eau Claire Memorial High School
As advisor to Eau Claire
Memorial High School’s GSA for six years, Beth Franklin has helped students of all
walks of life feel safe, appreciated, and welcome. During her tenure she coordinated bi-annual trainings
for UW-Eau Claire student-teachers, lobbied for and won a staff training on LGBT issues, rallied critical
support for a homeless club member, mentored student leaders and guided them through multiple national
events. She has put her job on the line numerous times for the safety and well-being of her LGBT students,
most recently in 2006 when she survived six weeks of media and public scrutiny for facilitating a lesson
about the challenges faced by transgender individuals in her English classroom during the 2006 Day of
Silence. This will be Beth’s last year teaching at Eau Claire Memorial, and her students consider
this award a wonderful send off and thank you on behalf of the community.