The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal

The Student News Site of Minnechaug Regional High School

The Smoke Signal


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Seeing the World in New Ways

Minnechaug teacher discusses GSA and spreading acceptance in his school community.

“I love helping people see the world in new ways,” says Mr. Garron.

Mr. Garron is a graphics and photography teacher at Minnechaug Regional High School.

So goes the driving philosophy of Mr. Garron, a graphics and photography teacher at Minnechaug Regional High School.

The air conditioner hums in the background, the room sparse save for necessities – computers, chairs, tables, photography equipment – along with some decorative plants to make the space pop. On the whiteboard are drawings made by students; one that stands out is a rapping rat, with the statement “Biggie Cheez in da house” written beside said rodent. It speaks to the easygoing yet productive learning environment fostered by Mr. Garron.

Currently, in his sixth year of teaching at Minnechaug, Mr. Garron switched to his current subject after two years of teaching Foundations of Art. Garron’s first teaching experience was tutoring a struggling student – he was an undergrad in art history at the time – which led him to pursue it as a profession.

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In addition to advising the school’s Color Guard and Yearbook Committee, Mr. Garron also serves as the advisor to the GSA – a position previously held by Ms. Gentile and Ms. Considine – a job which he holds in high regard.

“I think it’s really important to have an affinity group for queer students on campus,” Mr. Garron says.

As a gay man himself, Mr. Garron believes that his lived experiences can help students in the club relate to him on a different level, as opposed to having an advisor who isn’t a part of the LGBTQ community.
When asked about homophobia at Minnechaug, Mr. Garron said that he hasn’t noticed much, though that could be due to students acting differently around him.

“I am a teacher, and students are good at hiding things from me,” he says.

This seems to be backed up by GSA members noticing it more, from the use of phrases like “That’s so gay” to the throwing around of homophobic slurs. Mr. Garron hopes that GSA – and the work it does in the school community – empowers students to be an upstander when these sorts of situations arise.

Another important aspect of activism to Mr. Garron is intersectionality, which is why it’s so vital to collaborate with SOCA, or the school’s Students of Color Alliance, given that being Irish – emblematic fair skin and red hair included – being a person of color is far from his wheelhouse of expertise.

“People often think of different groups as separate, but there’s a lot of overlap between the experiences of different communities,” he says.

The GSA achievements Mr. Garron is most proud of are the ones that educate the general school population about queer issues – in this case, the Queer History slideshow for advisory, and a banner for Trans Day of Remembrance. The banner was a trans flag with all the names of trans people who lost their lives to prejudice from 2020-2022.

“I think it’s really important to acknowledge their loss and the violence that ended their lives,” Mr. Garron says.

As for the future, Mr. Garron and the club at large have their minds set on fundraising and reaching out to local GSAs, with hopes for a queer prom hosting all Western Mass GSAs in the spring.

When asked what he wants closeted students at Minnechaug to know, Mr. Garron says, “I want closeted students at Minnechaug to know that they are not alone. That there are people who know what they’re going through. That finding community is an empowering thing.”

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