, October 18, 2011 - The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), announced today Emmett Patterson of Washington, Pa., as its Student Advocate of the Year, presented by AT&T. Patterson will be honored at GLSEN's seventh annual Respect Awards - Los Angeles gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Friday, October 21.
"It is both a pleasure and honor to announce Emmett Patterson as our Student Advocate of the Year," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "Emmett is an exemplary leader and an indispensable resource for so many at his school and throughout his community in ensuring that safe schools are a guaranteed right for every student. Emmett's commitment to promoting safer and respectful learning environments serves as a source of inspiration to us all."
The 2011 Student Advocate of the Year was selected through a nomination process involving GLSEN's network of 31 chapters. Emmett's original nominee application was submitted by GLSEN Pittsburgh due to his active participation in the local chapter.
This year, Emmett co-founded Trinity High School's Gay-Straight-Alliance (GSA) and attracted more than 30 students to join the club at its first meeting. Emmett's perseverance to form his high school's GSA this spring became the first student club of its kind in all of Washington County.
In addition to co-founding and leading Trinity High School's GSA, Emmett has been actively involved in a diverse range of school activities. An honors student, Emmett is chief photo editor for his high school's yearbook and a member of the high school swim team. Emmett is also a cellist in his community's symphony orchestra. He is also involved in Washington Community Theatre.
Emmett's record of community service is extensive with his active involvement in the Washington County community Gay-Straight-Alliance. He is a part of two community centers including the Persad Center and the Academy for Adolescent Health, where he recently took on a position as the first high school student to operate the Common Ground Teen Center.
"Emmett is the poster child for a strong advocate of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our country," said Kathy Cameron, GLSEN Pittsburgh board member. "He has poise, intelligence and compassion for those of diversity. He leads by example, which makes others comfortable enough to speak up and demand equality and respect. He is such a natural leader to those that need it."
"I am so ecstatic and honored to receive this award from such a prestigious and outspoken organization," said Emmett Patterson. "GLSEN has empowered me to stand up and fight for the safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals and allies in my school and my community. I hope this award will provide me with a stepping stone in which to bring about more profound change. That is what I want this world to be: somewhere that is safe and beautiful for all people."
GLSEN's Student Advocate of the Year Award, presented by AT&T, honors an outstanding young person whose efforts have helped ensure a safe learning environment for all students - and have served as a voice of change in their school and their community.
Emmett will join four additional honorees at the Respect Awards - Los Angeles on Friday, October 21:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Michele and Rob Reiner
- Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion Award: Wells Fargo
- Inspiration Award: Rick Welts
- Hero Award: Chaz Bono
The seventh annual gala in Los Angeles is to benefit GLSEN and honor the individual and corporate leaders who have helped propel GLSEN's vision to make schools safe for all students.
The event is co-chaired by Linda Bell Blue (Executive Producer, "Entertainment Tonight"), Dave Karger (Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly), Michael Lombardo (President of Programming, HBO), David Phoenix (Interior Designer) and Chip Sullivan (Head of Publicity, DreamWorks Studios).
In conjunction with the evening benefit, GLSEN has opened a charityBUZZ online auction where individuals can bid on amazing experiences to support GLSEN's efforts nationwide. The online auction will accept bids until November 2, 2011. For a complete listing of auction items and bidding information vist: www.charitybuzz.com/glsen.
Follow GLSEN's Respect Awards - Los Angeles on Twitter! Sign up for our tweets at @glsen. Use the Twitter hashtag #RespectLA.
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community. For information on GLSEN's research, educational resources, public policy advocacy, student organizing programs and educator training initiatives, visit www.glsen.org