PSA from the MPA


Out and Proud. Students stand for the MPA yearbook photo. The balloons next to the students represented those who chose not to attend. “Some students aren’t ready to share that they’re in the club so that was just me trying to honor them and their privacy as well,” said Mrs. Boonie Elswick

The Manatee Pride Alliance (or MPA) is a club that hosts meetings every Thursday and is based on the principles of acceptance and safety for students looking for a space on campus where members of the LGBT+ and their allies can gather and socialize with one another. The club is an amazing way to meet new people, facilitate social interactions, and host resources to help these students seeking help regarding self-discovery and acceptance from fellow LGBT+ peers. 

The sponsor of the club is the chemistry, environmental and AP research teacher Mrs. Boonie Elswick who hosts the club’s weekly meetings, “Originally when the group formed, I would attend the meetings with Ms. Diane Pepper, so I helped to support the students” Elswick said when asked about her history with the club. The MPA has stayed close to its roots and is still a place for students to gather and interact, make friends and find people with common interests which is open to anyone, a part of the LGBT or not.  

The MPA has positive effects on the students. “Just letting the student population know that they have a place they can feel safe, that is the biggest reward,” Elswick said. The MPA supports students via the staff and teachers to let them know they are safe and seen. 

“I’ve met quite a few different people, I’ve made friends with many other people,” said Chandi Pelcha, a junior. Pelcha has been a returning member ever since her freshmen year and still finds time to be active after joining the workforce.

There are not any club positions such as treasurer or president, and there are not any big year-round projects that take a lot of time and focus like other clubs. The club provides a relaxed environment to socialize with people who are open-minded.

“You are valued even if you are not validated, and that’s very important to know, especially now,” said Mrs. Elswick. She enforces the fact the club is based upon acceptance and is open to anyone who wants to stop by on a Thursday after school from 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm.