News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

Another year of GWAM (Part 2)

The attendance of the annual GWAM retreat is dwindling
Students+participating+in+group+activities+with+their+leaders+during+the+GWAM+freshman+retreat.
Los Alamitos High School weekly newsletter
Students participating in group activities with their leaders during the GWAM freshman retreat.

LOS ALAMITOS, CA– Ever since COVID-19 infiltrated the lives of our students and faculty, it has been hard for some clubs and organizations on campus to come back from that pause in our education. For example, one of Los Al’s oldest clubs on campus, GWAM (Griffins With a Mission), has faced this very problem. 

“With GWAM, we realized that people forgot what it was, and then coming back, we had missed so much school [that] we [couldn’t] miss any more,” said Ms. Kibtya, a GWAM faculty leader. 

The attendance of freshmen who went to GWAM this year was estimated to be only half. GWAM leaders have noticed that attendance has been dwindling and decided to take action. 

“[We are] communicating more with teachers and students that this is a really important part of Los Al’s culture, and we want to keep it around for a long, long time,” said Ms. Kibtya. 

With emphasis on classes and grades, many students took the GWAM retreat as an opportunity to do their homework during class for the two days that GWAM took place. Some students had games in their classes, fun activities, or focused on additional priorities instead. Unfortunately, students did not see GWAM as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they would not be able to experience throughout the rest of high school.

“I didn’t go to GWAM because I didn’t want the workload to pile on. It paid off [because] I didn’t have to do any work at home, and I got a couple of rest periods,” said Paige Salg, a freshman who didn’t attend the GWAM retreat.

Even though the students who did not go to GWAM got two days of work periods, the students who did go still got one day to work on any assignments or work that their teachers assigned. Miscommunication was a huge part of the lack of attendance this year, and the attendance outcome might have been different if GWAM’s history and the emphasis it can have on freshmen were communicated a bit better throughout the student body.

To reiterate what was previously stated in “Another year of GWAM (Part 1)” the history of GWAM is a powerful story about adversity, acceptance of others, and students coming together to overcome hate. That same theme was taught to freshmen during this year’s retreat. 

The whole idea is that freshmen are given this experience to dive into identity, acceptance, and empathy… and really establish that as a culture in ninth grade so that it permeates throughout their 10th, 11th, and 12th-grade experience here at Los Al

— Mrs. Franzen, Los Al English and journalism teacher

GWAM is a great opportunity for freshmen, and we can not wait for new students next year to experience the sense of community that Griffins With a Mission brings to our school. Thank you GWAM for keeping such an empowering club on campus for this long!

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Kalea Davies, Staff Writer
Kalea Davies is a freshman in Journalism. Her interests range from listening to indie pop, reading fantasies and historical fiction, to binge watching murder mysteries and singing in choir. She can’t wait to join clubs on campus and participate in other activities in the future. She joined Journalism because of her passion for expressing herself through her writing and to improve her skills. Honest and loving, Kalea aspires to teach elementary school kids while digging deeper into her writing. You can contact Kalea at [email protected].
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