Throughout the month of July, we will be sharing the inspiring essays from our Spirit of Dru Scholarship recipients. Please enjoy Kristin Moorehead's - she will be attending the University of Florida this fall.
I never knew Drew. He was the founder of my school’s GSA, and his legacy impacted me in ways I don’t think he could have ever imagined, but I never knew him. And for that, I am truly sorry.
When the Pulse nightclub massacre happened, I didn’t hear about it until a few days after. My grandparents had taken me on a graduation trip to London, so I didn’t have Internet access. I remember sitting in a boat on the Thames, wondering why I saw a rainbow flag at half-mast. I was oblivious.
But I found out. And I found out that one of the 49 was none other than Drew, the man who had given me something I could now never thank him for: a place where there were some people who were just like me, and some who weren’t. It was a place where I could figure out who I was.
This place gave me a second family, and now, as president of the organization, I can give that to others. I wanted to be president to give back to the place that gave me so much. If I can make a difference in even one person’s life, if I can give them information or encouragement, or simply an ear to listen, then I will know I have succeeded. I joined GSA to find out who I was; I stayed because I felt a genuine connection to the people, and to the ideals that Drew set in place.
Through the GSA, I have met so many amazing people with so many amazing stories. Some of them are funny, others not so much. But we all share that connection to each other, and to our community. I have learned so much about the LBGTQ+ culture through GSA, and now I can pass that information on to future members. Knowing that I am participating in a legacy that has withstood so much hardship is a humbling experience, and I cherish it every time I walk through the door.
Because of Drew, I have been able to accomplish so many things that I never would have thought were possible. I helped fundraise over a thousand dollars to build a memorial dedicated to Drew and his gift to my school. I have helped lead numerous leadership conferences and cultural awareness meetings in Pinellas County. I have become more confident in who I am, and I hope that I inspire others to find that confidence in themselves.