MODESTO — The Gregori High School Jaguars Gay Straight Alliance celebrated individuality with a Rainbow Week celebration, the first activity of this sort in the area, according to the group.
Rainbow Week celebrates diversity and encourages acceptance of all forms of individuality, not solely focusing on sexual orientation. It celebrates students showing their true colors.
Said Annie Mathews, Gay Straight Alliance vice president, "It takes all the colors in the box to make a rainbow."
The week took three months to plan, and each day focused on a trait that at the end of the celebration spelled the word "pride."
Monday's theme was perseverance, Tuesday's was respect, Wednesday's was integrity, Thursday's was dedication and Friday's was expression.
Students wrote their stories of each trait on posters that were displayed on the stage in the quad and created a rainbow.
The main weeklong activity was a crayon drive.
The Gay Straight Alliance collected 783 crayons to use for a secret project to be unveiled April 19, the Day of Silence an observance in which people take a vow of silence to call attention to the muzzling effect bullying has on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
Overall, the Gregori Student body was accepting of Rainbow Week, Mathews said. Aside from a few students who chose not to participate, most others were supportive. Club members, as a precautionary measure, were prepared for any sort of backlash.
"The wind was our biggest enemy," said Matthews. For the most part, people were not bothered at all by the club's activities.
The Gregori Gay Straight Alliance is "not just a gay club," Matthews said. It's a club of acceptance. The club's mission is "to lessen discrimination starting at school and hopefully spreading it all the way home and further," according to its Facebook page.
Gregori's Rainbow week "got a lot of support," Matthews said, "I would definitely count it as a success."
Natalia Lima is a senior at Turlock High and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.