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Sky Vista Middle School student Affinity Groups create safe spaces

Students at SMSAlmost 150 students gathered at Sky Vista Middle School (SMS) at the end of August for one goal: to build community.

The students met to learn more about Affinity Groups, which are spaces that welcome students of color and students with LGBTQ+ identities (or both). 

“Our students deserve a space to build a welcoming community that affirms their identities,” SMS social studies teacher Craig Hirokawa said. “Our students are looking for a place to belong. Affinity Groups will also become a space where our eighth-graders will be able to mentor our sixth-graders and build their leadership skills.”

One of the students in attendance, eighth-grader Apple Nguyen, has been part of Affinity Groups since she began at her middle school. While the clubs weren’t as active during the initial part of the pandemic last school year, she is hopeful for how they can support students this year.

“I think Affinity Groups are important because they help us understand more about where we are coming from, and to have that common bond or connect with each other,” Nguyen said. “Affinity Groups are important to students because they help us improve/grow our identity, and understand that not everyone has the same story since we came from different places.”

Nguyen learned about Affinity Groups as a sixth-grader and wanted to do something to contribute to the school community. She hopes these groups will create safe spaces for students and she hopes more students will learn about them. She knows that many students are trying to understand who they are and need places to be with supportive peers to go on that journey.

“It's OK to take some time on finding our path or identity,” Nguyen added. “I am still trying to find my way, and it doesn't matter who you become because you are you, and that is wonderful.”


Posted 9/21/21.