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Gay athletes. Straight allies. Teaming up for respect.

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Williston Northampton School

The Wildcats of the Williston Northampton School have always accepted challenges. When educator Pat Griffin spoke to the school's Sports Studies class about the importance of engaging straight allies in a cause LGBT inclusion, she challenged Williston's students to embrace diversity and state it by making a You Can Play video.

After class, three of teacher Diane Williams' students said they wanted to make a video. Danny Gould, Eric Yarrows, and JF Boucher, all senior boys involved in athletics, were fired up and ready to go, Williams says. The student athletes took it a step further and created/facilitated a workshop on creating safer sports opportunities for all athletes through words and action. Rutherford reports that the workshop, for twenty peers, was met with rave reviews. Music teacher Ben Demerath, physics teacher Paul Rutherford and history teacher Diane Williams assisted in creating a groundbreaking video featuring Williston's student-athletes, administrators and coaches.

The school, in Easthampton, Massachusetts, sets a standard for participation in the inclusion and acceptance of all athletes. From the bottom of the pool to clearing a great high jump, and with a heartfelt "If you can smash, you can smash," the Wildcats are looking for a "best version of you."

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