The Arlington Gay & Lesbian Alliance (AGLA), a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for LGBT equality and partners with civic associations to provide community services, announced it had secured over $5,000 in contributions during its Thursday night, May 8, scholarship reception.
Proceeds from the event go to AGLA’s scholarship fund, which has awarded a $2,500 scholarship to one outstanding Arlington public high school senior annually since 2001. Recipients of the award are chosen based on demonstrated accomplishments in support of Arlington Public Schools’ policies of diversity, fairness, safety and equality; or their membership and activities in their particular school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. This year’s recipient is Jack Lax, a senior from Washington-Lee High School who has been involved with the Northern Virginia chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
The reception, with about 50 attendees, was held at the home of State Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun counties) and Doug Weik. AGLA President Tiffany Joslyn thanked the donors for their generosity. The host committee, which included several current and former local elected officials, pledged $5,000 prior to the event, according to AGLA
The keynote speaker was Kisha Webster, director of education and community engagement for Welcoming Schools, a project of the Human Rights Campaign. In her remarks, Webster spoke of the importance of educating and training all school faculty and staff in cultural competency, including combating bullying and fostering diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity. Webster challenged those in the room to make sure the first school in Virginia to become a recognized Welcoming School, implementing the program’s professional development tools and resources, is in Arlington.
“It is because of people like Jack and the work he has done that Arlington will meet Kisha’s challenge to have the first Welcoming School in Virginia,” Joslyn said as she presented Lax with a certificate honoring his achievements.