Kaitlin Alcontin

Encinal High School, Alameda

Kaitlin is a woman of action. When she witnessed, during her freshman year of high school, the repeated bullying of her LGBTQ+ peers, she knew she had to do something to provide them with better mental health support. She began by helping to spearhead Alameda Unified School District’s “Everyone Belongs Here” campaign in 2015. She aided in the creation of a poster that proclaimed support for all sexualities, genders, and families, and encouraged teachers to pledge to intervene in instances of bullying. But to ensure the students and teachers in Encinal High School would understand the gravity of this pledge, Kaitlin took it upon herself to organize a discussion panel in which LGBTQ+ students shared their personal traumas with school faculty. With Kaitlin’s support, this panel allowed the LGBTQ+ student participants to find their voices and be heard. This was all, however, just a starting point for Kaitlin; she conducted several more staff presentations on inclusion, and founded Encinal High School’s Gender & Sexuality Alliance, a schoolwide LGBTQ+ support group. In addition, she actively worked to confront institutional oppression as an intern for Filipino Advocates for Justice (FAJ). During her two years as a FAJ intern, she created and facilitated weekly workshops that combined Filipino culture with lessons about contemporary injustices such as sexism and income inequality. Given Kaitlin’s selflessness in wanting to help others, it is not at all surprising that one of her former teachers described her as “one of the finest students and human beings that I have worked with in 13 years as a public school educator.”