Saugus High School teens are raising money to attend an LGBTQ Prom in Antelope Valley for the third year in a row, school officials said Friday.
“Here at Saugus High School, students can bring anyone they want to any dance,” said Tere La Giusa, co-adviser for the Gay-Straight Alliance club at Saugus High School. “But sometimes, they feel like they can still stick out, and that people are looking at them. It’s just nice for them to feel comfortable.”
This year is the fourth annual LGBTQ prom and the third year Saugus students plan to attend the event, La Giusa said. About 30 kids have already expressed interest in going, a number expected to rise, she added.
“The challenge is getting everyone there, since it’s held in the Antelope Valley,” La Giusa said. “It’s held at the University of Antelope Valley’s Grand Ballroom, and it’s a really nice venue — people have weddings there.”
The first year the club attended the prom, about eight students attended, with 25 the year after that next year, La Giusa said.
With that number of students, they were able to purchase tickets to the event, rent limousines, provide dinner, flowers and a professional photographer.
This year — with more than 30 students interested and many more expected to express interest before the event — raising the funds gets harder.
The club has set up a [GoFundMe page].
“Gofundme is convenient, but they take a 10 percent cut,” La Giusa said.
Some parents, students and residents have sent checks directly to the club through the school.
Anyone interested in donating to the cause, or interested in offering services, or know of a restaurant that would like to donate some or all of the food, call La Giusa at 661-513-4062.
Saugus has had a Gay-Straight Alliance Club, originally called Safe Haven, since the 1990s, with La Giusa serving as the group’s adviser, along with Jacki Riedeman. Both are also teachers at Saugus High School.
The club has weekly meetings, with about 25 students attending each week, they are involved in back to school night and open house, La Giusa said.
“At the homecoming dance, there is a midway filled with booths hosted by clubs to raise funds, and they take part in that, as well,” La Giusa said.
The club also hosts “You Are Beautiful Week,” “Ally week” — where students pledge to not bully those that identify with the LGBTQ community, and there is a day of silence April 30, when students take a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior by illustrating the silencing effect of bullying and harassing LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.
As of Friday morning, $1,938 of the $3,000 goal had been raised with 37 people donating in the past 9 days.