Staff holds workshop to discuss concepts affecting boys and young men


Aurora Phillips

Issues surrounding masculinity, relationships and consent were all discussed during the sessions held for boys in each grade. Photo Illustration

Christopher Corriveau, Staff Writer

A workshop was recently held for all male high school students to hold an honest and open discussion on several topics that relate to boys and men.

Organized by male staff of GCAA in response to several events being held for female students earlier in the year, the workshop addressed the topics of gender identity, relationships, and consent, respectively. The workshop also covered topics encompassed by the main three, such as fatherhood and intimacy. It was structured this way for one topic to lead into the next, according to history teacher Evan Smith, creator of the workshop.

“If we know what it means to be a man and have defined that to ourselves in a way that is affirming to our whole selves, then we have an idea of what it means to have positive relationships with people,” said Smith, “Then concepts of consent are easier to break down and understand. That’s kind of an overview of the workshop. It’s design.”

The workshop was held with male students from every high school grade, which were called down to the Sun Theatre auditorium one grade at a time over the course of the day. The workshop lasted all day and was considered successful by both students and staff.

“I think one takeaway that I noticed immediately was how mature and thoughtful the boys were, and how serious they were about the topic, and honest about their feelings they were regarding these complicated issues,” said Ben Dinwiddie, who helped prepare the workshop. “We set a high expectation and our young men rose to that expectation.”

There are plans to continue the discussions held in the workshop over the course of the next year through an all-male advisory specifically dedicated to organizing similar events. The advisory would be named MANifest, and consist of students from every grade to address cultural ideas of consent, manhood, and more in workshops and events of their own.

“The world isn’t a beautiful place, and it won’t be soon,” said senior Cameron Johnson. “Sometimes the only thing we can do is be aware that there’s people that don’t have the best interest for you. Y’know, we probably can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves, and be the change that we’re looking for in the world.”