GL Shines Light On Diversity



Equality is a continuing focus among many at GLHS. The upcoming mural will showcase the inner worlds of individuals for others to see.

Maddy Gooley and Marisol Macias

The Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee of the Grand Ledge Board of Education was formed on June 22, 2020, at the board meeting of that date. 

According to the high school’s website, the committee strives to foster “a learning and work environment that values and promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion.” Since then, the committee has continued to work towards further developments in the curriculum which align with this view. Teachers, administrators, GL alumni, and parents work to discuss and implement equity in the community. 

Their Priority areas are:

  1. Cultivating a welcoming and inclusive school community for students
  2. Prioritizing racial and ethnic diversity in the District’s hiring practices
  3. Diversifying the curriculum across subject areas to include more antiracist and social justice content
  4. Establishing a plan for professional learning focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion for teachers, staff, administrators, and students

Within each of their priority areas, the board has created goals that fulfill the specified task. Many of these goals have been completed or are in the process of being completed. 

Goals like “Establish and/or expand student-led diversity, equity, and inclusion clubs at elementary, middle, and high schools” are evident in organizations such as Diversity Club, GSA, International Club, and the soon-to-be Women’s Equality Club.

Aside from this, Diversity Club has done its part for the student body as well. Advised by Mrs. Rios-Thomas, Diversity Club works to evaluate social awareness to create change in the community. Most often, powerpoints are created to educate the group on a specified topic. Members also spend time discussing and sharing personal experiences.

In addition to a primarily student-led Diversity Club, there is also a teacher-led EDIC. This committee is led by Mrs. Dohm.

The EDI teachers committee provided many resources for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

 “We are working in our PLC to bring awareness and instruction to MLK day and more diverse, inclusive instruction. We are working together for this to be accessible for all courses, not just the humanities,” said Mr. Westra-Hall, Journalism and Yearbook administrator. 

As events like MLK Jr. Day, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month occur at the beginning of the year, staff and students have recognized their histories and linked values. Ms. Coulon, Grand Ledge High School’s very own art teacher, has proposed the idea to create a project portraying this as a whole. 

The school board’s EDIC priority areas, Goal 1, priority area 1, is to to “Create visual displays for each school building that instill a welcoming and inclusive environment upon entry.”

“… We wanted something all students could participate in but also represent their diversity…This is just a way to represent everyone working together… to show unity,” noted Coulon.

Hung in the main entrance, it incorporates both student and staff input. 

In a nutshell, each participant answers diversity-related questions on a slip of paper during a  pride lesson. These questions, with the intention to provoke thought, stand as: 

  • What do you have in common with everyone else?
  • What makes you unique? 

After this process, the slips are folded origami-style and later hung up by Diversity Club members, creating a beautiful mural. Collectively, they picture a rainbow heart with a range of skin tones. 

“The design is based on Senbazuru, a Japanese art form meaning one thousand origami cranes,” Coulon adds. “The cranes are given to people at weddings and as gifts; they symbolize healing and good luck.” 

However, this initial plan and pride lesson have been delayed a couple of times. Those in charge felt that the heart in the project would be too closely associated with Valentine’s Day.

Despite this delay, students and administration should continue to educate, apply, and embrace diverse perspectives in more ways than one. 

Making efforts to create greater levels of diversity at smaller scales, such as a high school community, brings enrichment and inclusivity to not only the little city of Grand Ledge but to the rest of the world as well.  

“…We need to be willing to embrace empathy and initiate change in how we have always done things” concludes Ms. Coulon.

A link to the 2020-2021 Report of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee PDF can be found on the Grand Ledge Comet’s Tale website attached to this article