Written by Emily Thouless, Student Journalist
Do you know what a HERO is? Because at St. Peter’s Secondary School in Barrie, the HERO Club provides safety and equality for all students in our community. HERO, or the Helping to Educate Regarding Orientation group, is described as being a non-judgemental, safe space with the aim to promote acceptance, respect, and love for all individuals regardless of their background or orientation. It’s different than other clubs as it presents students to others with similar ideals rather than interests, and ensures that everyone in our school has a place to go if they’re feeling unsure and just need a place to go and be themselves.
On top of being a dedicated group in terms of human dignity, respect, and education, the club also works together to create awareness and promote equality for everyone in today’s society including students who identify as part of the LGBT community. Miss Lemay, the School Chaplaincy Leader at St. Pete’s, was enthusiastic to start the club and says they’ve been thinking about a club like HERO for years.
When asked about why she felt the LGBT community needed to be embraced and why HERO was so important she said, “Jesus aligned himself with those who were marginalized in society, so if I’m going to tell my students to follow Jesus, I think they should also align themselves with those who might be considered marginalized in our schools...”. She says this aligns perfectly with our values as Catholics as it follows the Golden Rule of our faith, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
HERO has become a safe place for all students to discuss issues relevant to their lives, and is proud to support others with love and spiritual comfort. In fact, many students join just to be a support beacon for others in the group. “I joined because I’m an ally...” said student Bella “...and because I wanted to keep it going and gain traction and force… I don’t want this to go away”. The other students in the group had similar answers, praising the club for its openness and non-judgemental atmosphere. As the first group of its kind in our school board, HERO has made quite a name for itself, which will hopefully encourage more Catholic schools to follow suit, and eventually make heroes of us all.