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Tiffani St. Cloud
Inducted 1996
Photo: Israel Wright
By age 18 in 1996, she had become a chief motivating force behind formation of the Pride group at Chicago’s Whitney Young High School. It quickly became the school’s second-largest organization, despite some initial student-body resistance. It was formed to bolster the self-esteem of students, including those who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and to advocate for their rights.
At age 18, Tiffani St. Cloud’s youth seems not to match her significant passion for people and her leadership ability. Yet St. Cloud was the motivating force behind organization of a student group, called Pride, at Chicago’s Whitney Young Magnet High School.
The group, formed in 1996, exists to provide support for all students at Whitney Young, including gay, lesbian, and bisexual students; to help people of all orientations to overcome prejudice by promoting tolerance; and to educate students about issues affecting those perceived to be different.
Though many lesbian and gay youth have begun to come out in the 1990s, those who come out still do so with trepidation. They particularly fear rejection by their peers and families. For the Whitney Young student group, most resistance to its formation came from the student body, even though within a few months it became the school's second-largest organization.
The Pride group has created an atmosphere in which students can learn to be comfortable with themselves and can develop confidence. With confidence, they can develop their own value systems and elevate their self-esteem. This is critical, since low self-esteem is correlated with the high incidence of gay and lesbian suicide among youth.
Students also see an advocacy aspect to the group. Some say they want to teach by example and show that gay and lesbian students can make a difference. Others speak of a need to confront injustice and to learn facts so they can better support lesbian and gay rights. The group tries to have verbally homophobic students disciplined.
Tiffani St. Cloud is “out” to her family and friends. She believes that silence aids those who would oppress others.
St. Cloud currently pursues her education as a first-year student at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she is interested in sociology, ethics, and religion. This teen's quiet nature belies her courage and leadership, both of which she has used to serve others.
This biography is as of the induction date. It has not been updated.
Additional information is available for items referenced in the biography of Tiffani St. Cloud at the following sites:
Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
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