Gaudete: celebrating welcoming parishes, schools, communities, and people

Walsh Jesuit High School

Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

David Palmieri / April 30, 2022

Walsh Jesuit High School is a school of approximately 1,100 co-ed students located in Cuyahoga Falls, OH.  Serving grades 9-12, Walsh Jesuit embraces its Jesuit identity and “the concept of cura personalis, a Latin term meaning care of the entire person; body, mind, and soul.” Founded in 1964, the school continues to “reach beyond academic excellence to develop competence, conscience, and compassion within its graduates.”

Walsh Jesuit accompanies LGBTQ+ students through The Alliance, a group of about 15-30 students who meet weekly in a classroom for a rotation of topics, including guest speakers, book club conversation, leadership planning, and informal conversation. From one student: “The Alliance is important to me because it is one of the only places I can actually be myself without being judged.”

The group also participates in events like the Holistic Wellness Fair, LGBTQ+ History Month, and they meet frequently with other local Catholic clubs and allies. From another student: “The Alliance gives students a platform to effect change on campus and spark genuine, difficult conversations. It breaks down stereotypes, so that all students are able to be who they are, free of judgment and free of fear.”

Walsh Jesuit accompanies LGBTQ+ students through The Alliance, a group of about 15-30 students who meet weekly in a classroom for a rotation of topics, including guest speakers, book club conversation, leadership planning, and informal conversation. From one student: “The Alliance is important to me because it is one of the only places I can actually be myself without being judged.” The group also participates in events like the Holistic Wellness Fair, LGBTQ+ History Month, and they meet frequently with other local Catholic clubs and allies. From another student: “The Alliance gives students a platform to effect change on campus and spark genuine, difficult conversations. It breaks down stereotypes, so that all students are able to be who they are, free of judgment and free of fear.”

Dr. Emily Grad, a moderator for The Alliance, told Outreach:

“Struggles of non-heteronormativity and non-conformity to gender stereotypes are shame, divineness, judgment, discrimination and hate crimes, suicidal ideation, and low self-worth. But the heartbeat of The Alliance is to provide a safe place for students who identify as LGBTQ+ or allies. As an Ignatian school, we are called to be ‘men and women [and persons] for others’; we recognize that Jesus was commissioned at his baptism and transfiguration with the identity of the Beloved—to be loved. Being made in God’s image, we want all to be empowered and to know that they are also the beloved.”

Dr. Emily Grad
Dr. Emily Grad, Dean of Students and moderator for The Alliance

David Palmieri

David Palmieri is a theology teacher at Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, Mass.

All articles by David Palmieri

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