L.O.V.E Overcomes All Other Organizations


Largest Club on Campus: LGBT + Allies

With over 90 student and faculty members, the LGBT+ Allies club (also known as the L.O.V. E Club) was started by Ryx West and Social Studies Department Chair Cindy Schafer, and has become the largest club on Walker’s campus. L.O.V.E stands for love overcomes virtually everything; the club’s goal is to lift fellow members up and bring compassion to the Walker School community. West said that “ I was in the car with my dad. I looked at him and just said, “I’m sick of Walker not having some kind of GSA (Gay Straight Alliance). I want kids that fall under the spectrum or kids that just want to learn to have an open environment where they can ask these questions without ridicule and feel safe.”  Pertaining to starting the club, Schafer said, “When Ryx wanted to start this club, it was so logical that I would join in because Walker is the first place that I have ever worked where I feel I can truly be myself and accepted. The club has allowed me to feel a tremendous amount of support and the students have allowed me to grow as a person. More importantly, our club isn’t just about LGBT issues, we have a number of students that attend because they want their school community to be accepting of everyone, regardless of their race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.”

Junior Elena Thornton describes the club as a “safe space for members and allies of the LGBT+ community to discuss the importance of acceptance of all people and to learn more about the community in a comfortable way.” Walker’s LGBT+ allies club meets every Friday during the break time reserved for club meetings. A senior ally, Alec Yeaney, explains his thoughts that “joining of the club is vital to some people opening their eyes and rethinking their ideas.” Alec believes that, “the club has become so vast because there are so many good people at our school that recognize this is a huge social issue in our day and age and we are the generation who needs to do something about it.”

The LBGT + Allies club has started a growing movement of increased acceptance in the Upper School community. The club is open to new ideas and discussion from members and hopes to make Walker a space where no student feels like an outsider. Members of the club embrace the learning experience that our generation is going through. Junior Sean Nesmith said, “even though I’m gay, there are still a TON of things that I have yet to learn about the rest of my LGBT peers, so going to the club is even a learning experience for me.”

Elena said, “I honestly feel like this club is the one of the best things to come to Walker in the 13 years I’ve been here. I think the club has made Walker not only more accepting but more aware and respectful of the LGBT+ community.”

What’s coming up for the LGBT + Allies club? Thornton said, “Mrs. Slipakoff, the parent of a transgender student in the lower school, came to speak to us. In the future, Lieutenant Sharples and his chief are coming to speak to us about their efforts to make the Smyrna police department more accepting and improve relations between them and the LGBT+ Community. We also have Open Mic night coming up, November 14, where all donations/money we raise will go to the Lost’n’Found, which is a shelter for LGBT Youth in Atlanta.” The LGBT + Allies club is hoping to grow to an even larger scale, and is currently searching for a new meeting place to accommodate its almost 100 members. As the club started in Schafer’s normal sized room, students are now piling up on desks to come and listen. Sean said that “thinking about how many people support us means so much, even if they aren’t a member of the LGBT community. It’s so amazing to know that they are here for us, providing a true sense of a safe space. I know that with their continued support, more and more people will be more open to come and visit.”