There are many active student organizations at Old Rochester Regional High School. While there are several that have been around for years, a few are new to the student body this year. One of these newcomers is the Gender Politics Club, which focuses on opening up discussion about current and important social issues.
The club was formed this past year by “founding mothers” Katie MacLean, Bella Rodrigues, and Kelly Bruce. Along with history teacher Andy Apperson and school librarian Allison Barker, the trio leads the weekly meetings.
“The three of us happened to all have our study with Mr. Apperson, and after we started routinely talking about social issues, he mentioned that he used to run a ‘social issue club’ at his former school,” said Bruce. “We wanted to have our own, too,”
After approval from Principal Mike Devoll, the club meets in the library every Tuesday after school.
“We try to open the forum to all sides of the playing field,” Rodrigues said. “We did a day on the ‘pink tax,’ which is where shampoos and soaps are priced more when specifically advertised for females.”
The group also holds dicussions on other gender-related issues as the wage gap, which Rodrigues said drew lots of discussion, since some people didn’t believe in it while others believe strongly that it is an issue.
Freshman Spencer Perez-Dormitzer decided to join the group after listening to Apperson talk about it, which he does a lot, said Perez-Dormitzer.
“Then I went to a meeting and found it quite interesting and about important topics that need to be addressed,” said Perez-Dormitzer.
In one of their recent meetings, Apperson started out by reminding people about the upcoming Women’s March in Cambridge. Students quickly filled a sign-up sheet pledging to attend the January 20th event.
The group also talked about the outcome of the Golden Globes and the various protests and statements made by celebrity guests. One of these brought up in a news clip the club watched highlighted the black dresses that Hollywood actresses wore in solidarity with the “Time’s Up” movement.
“We had a lawyer come in and she talked about her experiences that she’s had in the world, about being looked down on from a man’s perspective,” said freshman Vice President Payton Lord. “It’s a good group of people. They’re very welcoming and we all come together to talk about stuff that we care about.”
“This club has given me an outlet to voice my opinions and feel like my ideas are important,” said club member Lauren Gonsalves. “It’s nice to see that other people have as much to add to the conversation as I do.”
By Jo Caynon