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A matter of respect

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Eugenia Dominguez-Chaires

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Time of their lives
October 27, 2017
PLUS+Club+moderators+Roberto+Cano+%2721+and+Elizabeth+Johnson+%2721+promote+the+first+ever+CCHS+PLUS+Club%2C+a+community+that+will+bring+more+equality+to+campus+by+addressing+societal+problems+through+guidance%2C+God%2C+and+respect.+%0A
PLUS Club moderators Roberto Cano '21 and Elizabeth Johnson '21 promote the first ever CCHS PLUS Club, a community that will bring more equality to campus by addressing societal problems through guidance, God, and respect.

PLUS Club moderators Roberto Cano '21 and Elizabeth Johnson '21 promote the first ever CCHS PLUS Club, a community that will bring more equality to campus by addressing societal problems through guidance, God, and respect.

Photo by Eugenia Dominguez

Photo by Eugenia Dominguez

PLUS Club moderators Roberto Cano '21 and Elizabeth Johnson '21 promote the first ever CCHS PLUS Club, a community that will bring more equality to campus by addressing societal problems through guidance, God, and respect.

Coming out.

Cathedral Catholic High School student Roberto Cano ’19 overcame a personal struggle in February, 2017 that kept him from openly showing happiness, a situation he attributes to pressures at CCHS that made him hide his true identity.

Through a supportive teacher, his parents, and himself, Cano made an announcement: he is gay.

Despite the Catholic, kind, and welcoming campus at CCHS, there are societal pressures that students reflect onto the campus, similar to those in any other school in the United States, that made Cano’s announcement uncomfortable. Further, Cano believes his experience may have been easier if some sort of support system existed at CCHS, he said.

As a result, CCHS administrators green lighted the formation of the Peers Living In Solidarity Club this semester in an effort to make LGBT and other students alienated by race and culture feel more comfortable and accepted on campus.

“We are trying to alleviate any type of discriminations,” Cano, one of the club leaders, said. “We really are just striving to bring more awareness to societal problems at CCHS.”

The problems behind the supposedly picture perfect school not only include the judging of gay people on campus, but also people of different racial backgrounds on campus.

Teens feel the pressure to fit in and to succumb to societal pressures around them, consequently instilling a fear to embrace who they are. Social anxiety, the fear and anxiety of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people. In fact, ABC News estimates that approximately 15 million Americans live with social anxiety.

Social anxiety can often be caused or sparked due to environments where kids feel like their every action and words will be judged. However, the CCHS community is taking action to fix the societal pressures on campus and reach out to students through the PLUS Club.

“It’s all about celebrating people for who they are, and where they are right now,” college counselor and PLUS Club moderator Torrey Eason said.

The PLUS Club promotes a social justice platform in which students will meet together to discuss societal and school-related problems while serving as a tool to help students figure out who they are and how they can embrace it while on campus.

Now more than ever, the CCHS community is addressing the these issues through open, positive dialogue and actions.

“It was definitely a positive experience,” Mr. Eason said, when asked about how teachers reacted to the news of the new club. “It even had some teachers relieved because they knew that it was something that Cathedral had been in need of, and the students have been wanting it.

“I want there to be a culture shift, and not necessarily one of understanding, but one of respect.”

The powerful statement given by Mr. Eason is testimony that there currently is a problem at CCHS. Namely, there are CCHS students who feel marginalized and fragmented from the larger group, causing them to feel not fully welcomed on campus.

The PLUS Club hopes to reverse that trend by bringing more respect and tolerance toward different sexual orientations, races, and cultures, Mr. Eason said. 

Despite how controversial the club might seem to some parents or teachers, religion will tie into the executing of the club.

“We are still at Cathedral, a Catholic institution,” Mr. Eason said. “It’s also going to be important in helping students figure out what it means to be whatever they are, and Catholic or Christian.”

Adding this religious element to the PLUS Club gives it a unique component unlike similar clubs that exist at public schools. In addition, the PLUS Club incorporates the kindness of teachers, who will help guide students in embracing who they are and what their faith means to them.

“The creation of the PLUS Club also came from a need recognized by the bishop in San Diego,” Assistant Dean of Mission and Ministry Nicholas Hurt said. “The bishop explained how we needed to be more aware and welcome all members of our community.”

No child or student should ever feel marginalized and ashamed to embrace who they are because of their sexual orientation, race, or culture, Mr. Hurt said. The CCHS community is taking a monumental step forward by allowing the existence of the PLUS Club on campus.

As Pope Francis said, “If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them?”

A sentiment Cano surely echoes.

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The School Newspaper of Cathedral Catholic High School
A matter of respect