A group of students at Elmvale District High School is celebrating Pride by putting forth a community initiative.

"We all need a chance to be represented," says Grade 8 student Kate Hvalica.

Hvalica is a member of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at school.

Club member and Grade 9 student Madison Ritchie says they focus on equality for all students at the school. "Just to make sure that everybody feels seen and heard."

The club is working on multiple different projects to spread awareness about inclusivity. This month, club members put up billboards and artwork around the school to celebrate Pride.

"We have this billboard, it says 'Coming Out' on it. The GSA put a lot of effort into putting this together," says Hvalica.

On Thursday, the group hosted a first-ever GSA virtual summit for schools across Simcoe County. Students around the region joined the conference to learn about Pride.

But the most significant project they are working on is getting a rainbow crosswalk in the village.

"We had seen other ideas from schools and areas where they had developed a crosswalk, and we thought, you know what, that's just the thing our community needs," Hvalica says.

Elmvale council unanimously approved the initiative a few weeks ago after GSA students gave a presentation during a council meeting.

"The idea for the rainbow crosswalk was something that we thought of in bigger communities, but not in a rural community like Elmvale, and it was so important to them. They brought the initiative forward," says Elmvale District High School librarian Amanda Kennedy.

The students say they plan to have the crosswalk painted outside the library in town.

"People seeing that it's really going to raise awareness of a group that's underrepresented in our community," says Ritchie.

The students plan to host fundraising initiatives over the next year to raise money for the crosswalk. They hope it will be installed in the village by spring 2023.