One community, one school, several places to belong



Angie Twombly, Editor-in-Chief

At Omaha North High School there are many different clubs and activities that students can participate in. There is a chess club, drama club, robotics club, book club and more.

But at North there are also clubs that students can join to learn more about themselves and just have a place to feel safe. For example, there’s Black Student Leadership Council (BSLC), Just Friends, and Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA).


BSLC is an organization where Black students at North can go to educate themselves about Black culture by organiz-ing, planning, developing, dis-cussing, and learning together.

The director of BSLC, John Jackson, has been with BSLC since 2013 when he founded it in a Minneapolis High School. After he moved to Omaha to teach English at North, his students became interested in the organization.

“What we do is we educate within so that we can edify and educate externally to the community,” Jackson said.

Being a leadership council, BSLC has various leadership opportunities for the students themselves. This year’s presi-dent is Dominique Cook, 11, and vice president is DellShawn Evans, 12.

Another role in BSLC is chairperson of public relations, who oversees all social media. This position is held by Kobe McPhaull, 12.

McPhaull has participated in BSLC for the past four years at North. He had friends and family who were previously in the club, so he was encouraged to join.

McPhaull joined because he was interested in learning more about himself as an African American student beyond what is taught in school.

“I think that’s what it brings for me, is the eagerness to learn more about my history and just wanting to learn,” McPhaull said.

BSLC does many events like Ujamaa, which is Swahili for cooperative economics. It is a principle of Nguzo Saba which is the basis for Kwanza.

They also have a Black History Month Program and an African American Professionals Day that many people, not just the club members, can enjoy.

BSLC also takes a spring trip every year that includes having to raise funds. Fundraisers include selling Boo Bags, and Bae Bags, which are bags of candy sold among the student body around Halloween and Valentine’s Day every year.

“Any money we raise, is money we raise, there was a trade or exchange of a service,” Jackson said.

The goal of BSLC is to continue to embrace and embody the principles that they have established.


GSA is a youth-led club advocating for the understanding and tolerance of all people, as well as ending chronic verbal and physical aggression that many face.

The goal of GSA is to promote inclusivity and to bring awareness to the LGBTQIA+ community. They provide resources for students looking for them, as well as try to promote a safer school for everybody.

Allison Iles, sponsor of GSA, has also been a counselor at North for the past 19 years. The previous club sponsors were looking to give the club to someone else, so Iles began helping and eventually took over.

“We are a diverse group, which is what I really like. Not just one race, one identity,” Iles said, “just all different walks of life.”

Aiden Beguedou, 10, is an active member of GSA and served as co-president during the 2021-22 school year. Beguedou feels as if they have had to overcome their own insecurities and their own self-doubts while in the club.

“We are all still trying to figure out our own struggles and everything we are doing with those struggles,” Beguedou said.

GSA does many activities throughout the year like selling masks and rainbow pins. In the previous school year, they even held a Day of Silence in April.

“It gave us a little more representation,” Beguedou said.

This year they are trying to participate in more things, such as the homecoming parade, daily announcements, and National Coming Out Day.

“We want to do something [so] if [students] wanted to come out, they would have the opportunity to do so,” said Iles.

Just Friends

Just Friends is a club that gives all students an opportunity to develop friendships in an informal atmosphere.

Just Friends brings students from the General Education Program (GEP) and students in the Alternative Curriculum Program (ACP) together so the GEP students can act as mentors to the ACP students.

They do different activities like making cookies, watching movies, and going on field trips. In October they plan to make caramel apples and have a float in the homecoming parade.

The club was run by previous advisers and ACP teachers, so Madeline Myers, current ACP teacher, is the current sponsor.

“I think it promotes inclusivity and gives these kids an opportunity to get social modeling,” Myers said.

Tamisha Starks, 10, is an ACP student that was in the Just Friends club last year where she met many people.

“[It] helps people to have friends, [and] if they don’t have friends, they can come meet new friends,” Starks said.

Starks was able to participate in activities that do not normally occur during the school day, such as singing karaoke, enjoying time outside and eating snacks.

“Pretty much, we have a lot of fun,” Starks said.

Overall BSLC, GSA and Just Friends all provide a safe place for students to go where they can feel included in a safe and diverse environment.