Local Teens Recall Their Moment Of Truth — The Day They Came Out

Stories By: Abigail DesVergnes

The colors of the rainbow are most vivid in October. That’s because this is LGBT history month.

First celebrated in 1994, it recognizes the present day LGBTQIA+ community, the history of Gay Rights and the Civil Rights movements.

National Coming Out Day was celebrated Oct. 11 when people across the country took to the Internet by storm, posting to social media about “coming out.” For some, it was their first time; for others it was a celebration of the day they came out to family and friends.

“Coming out allows people to present their authentic selves to their community,” said Maura Rosenthal, a gender studies professor at Bridgewater State University. “And it’s the community’s job to be accepting.”

Meet Jason Grenier, 15, of Attleboro.


Photo by: Mark Stockwell – The Sun Chronicle Jason Grenier (left) and his mom Crystal (right)

Jason enjoys hanging with his friends and drama club. But most of all, he enjoys being himself.

Last year, Jason decided to come out to his friends and family as a female transitioning to male, something that he always knew he wanted to do.

“Ever since he was a toddler, he would dress as a boy,” Jason’s mother Christy said. “We would walk into the store, and he’d immediately go to the men’s section.”

Throughout his life, Jason dressed in boy’s clothing, but he was never truly confident as himself.

After repeated nights questioning to himself who he truly was, he found the answer.

He was Jason. It was who he was all along and still is today. And this past spring, he decided to change the female name he was given at birth.

When Jason told his parents that he was transgender, they took to the Internet to do some research.

They educated themselves by watching online videos, consulting with a doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital, then hiring a lawyer to change his name. After all the paperwork was completed, Jason’s life began to be his own.

“I was finally me.”

Even though Jason received an abundance of support from friends and family, it wasn’t an easy path and it’s still very hard.

Jason said that he often suffers from social anxiety, depression and struggles with what many people would consider simple things, such as deciding which bathroom to use.

But when days are tough, he is comforted by an extensive support system and the knowledge his decision was carefully considered.

“This was something that was very difficult for me,” he said. “There’s no way I’d do this for attention.”

In the future, Jason said he hopes to be an advocate for transgender rights and offers help out any way he can.

“We should all be able to be ourselves and love who we love,” he said.

Meet Sarah DeFlaminio, 17, of Attleboro.


Photo Submitted- Sarah DeFlaminio

A senior at Attleboro High School, Sarah found this to be a year of new beginnings.

Coming out as bisexual was something she always knew she wanted to do, but didn’t know how or when.

“I perfectly fit the cliche of always knowing that deep down that this was the real me,” she said.

Before telling her friends and family she was bisexual, she would lose sleep over the thought of never being truly open — even with herself.

But this past May 28, she decided it was time.

Before leaving to attend a concert with friends, she left a letter to her parents laying out everything. When she came home, she found two supportive parents.

“I received the utmost support, which is not the story for all kids,” she said.

Phase 2 kicked in when she decided to come out to the world — that is to say, the Internet.

Now Sarah is confident in herself, and ready for anything.

“Coming out was the best and most brave thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “I don’t regret a single thing about it.”

Meet Delenn Martin, 18, of Franklin.


Photo Submitted- Delenn Martin

Delenn describes her coming out as “casual,” just low key conversations with friends and family.

“I had been denying my sexuality for years, saying ad nauseum that I was straight and had no interest in girls whatsoever,” she said.

Coming out to her Roman Catholic family as queer and bisexual was one of the most difficult parts of the process.

It wasn’t until she started dating her first serious girlfriend at the beginning of her sophomore year in high school that she decided to tell them what was going on.

At first her parents thought she was “confused” and that she was just “experimenting.” And, while they were hesitant at first, Delenn said they soon came to terms with her decision.

“I am lucky to have loving and understanding parents,” she said.

Her advice to anyone thinking about coming out: “Remember that it is your choice. You can come out to everyone at once, to only a few people or not at all.”

“We all need to remember that each person’s sexuality is as individual as their personality.”

Meet Julia Semple,16, of Attleboro.


Photo Submitted – Julia Semple

A recent graduate of her online high school, Julia enjoyed this past summer attending many concerts with her friends.

For her, coming out went as smoothly as can be. No “coming out horror stories” for her, she said.

“I wish I had an interesting coming out story,” Julia said.

She was only 13 when she told her mom during a car ride that she was gay.

At first her mom assumed she was joking, but Julia assured her it was a fact.

Then, came unconditional support.

“She told me that she loved me no matter what,” Julia said.

And that same support she received from her mom, was matched by the rest of her family and friends.

But, coming out isn’t a one time announcement, unless you’re famous.

“You don’t just do it once or twice,” Julia said. “You’re doing it constantly, for the rest of your life, to almost every new person you meet.”

Her advice to anyone thinking about coming out: “Wait until you’re ready and in a safe environment to do so. Listen to your gut. If it feels right, then do it, and if not, then give it time.”

Meet Hunter Araujo,18, of Attleboro.


Photo Submitted – Hunter Araujo

A freshman at UMass Amherst studying political science and economics, Hunter said growing up he always knew he was somehow different from a lot of other boys.

“Although I didn’t know what it meant to be gay, I had this feeling that something about me was just different,” he said.

He recalled one night lying in bed, and saying out loud: “I’m gay.”

“I cried myself to sleep that night because it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders,” said.

After coming out to himself, he came out to his mother.

He sat down next to her as she was watching TV, and said, “I have something to tell you.”

After bursting into tears, his mom assured him that, no matter what, they’d be fine.

And, to his surprise, she told him that she “already knew.”

Then, to take some of the pressure off him, she told most of their extended family.

“I am very fortunate to be surrounded by friends and family who love me for me,” he said.

Meet Skyler Harvey,19,of Providence.


Photo Submitted – Skyler Harvey

Skyler came to terms that he was a trans male about four months ago. After years of struggling with his identity, he can finally say he’s comfortable in his own skin. He would just as soon forget his former female name.

Living in his own apartment and working three jobs, he calls himself a workaholic.

When Skyler isn’t working, he’s writing music and playing some of the 16 instruments he’s learned over a lifetime.

“In my free time, I’m a rock star,” he quipped.

But this rock star/workaholic hasn’t had an easy life, and not everyone accepts who he is.

“When I walk in the girls bathroom, I get glared at. When I walk into the mens bathroom, I get glared at. It’s hard to feel accepted when you don’t know where you belong.”

Skyler says his parents are having a hard time with their “daughter” coming out as transgender.

“When I’m with them, I’m not able to be the real me,” he said. “I know that this situation is difficult to understand, but it’s who I am.”

Since middle school, Skyler was always more masculine than feminine. He would always shop for boy’s clothes, and preferred short hair.

“Dressing like a man has always made me feel comfortable,” he said.

But that “double life,” he said, was “exhausting.”

Skyler said when he hears his former name, he becomes depressed.

It’s people like his girlfriend who have helped him stay true to himself.

His advice to anyone planning to come out as transgender: “Trust your gut, remain open to your loved ones and always be yourself — no matter what that may be.”

Meet Brenton Holmes,19, of Attleboro.


Photo Submitted – Brenton Holmes

Brenton came out as bisexual to his friends and family in seventh grade, and later as gay during the summer going into eighth grade.

When he came out in seventh grade, the harassment was brutal. Rumors spread through school that he was a “fag,” and that he “liked boys.”

Suicide crossed his mind, but never for long.

“When I got that low, I just thought to myself that if I die now, how will I find my future husband, get my dream house, have my dream job and have a family of my own?”

Brenton’s parents found out he was gay after one of his classmates wrote him a letter saying he was sorry for calling him a “fag.”

His mom hadn’t realized he was gay until she read the letter.

“She was very supportive and understanding,” Brenton said. “Finally, coming out was a flow of emotions.”

Although his coming out story had a rocky start, Brenton says he’s happier than ever now.

“Don’t let anyone steal your sparkle,” he said.

Meet Jocelyn Reyome,18, of Attleboro.

Currently, Jocelyn is a vocal performance major at Holland College in Prince Edward Island, Canada, through the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

She says her “light bulb moment” — when she realized she was queer — came at age 13.

But, it wasn’t until high school that she felt confident enough to come out to her parents.

“I just wanted to establish a new level of trust between my parents and I,” Jocelyn said.

There were many times she almost let on to her parents, but would catch herself before slipping.

Then, on March 11, 2013, after a high school basketball game, Jocelyn came home and came out to her parents.

She remembers saying: “Mom, Dad, I need to tell you something. I know that you’ll love me the same way. It’s not that I don’t like boys, it’s just that I like girls, too.”

Although Jocelyn’s parents were accepting, she said it might have taken some adjustment for them to realize her life wasn’t going to turn out the way they had planned.

But the hardest part, she said, was the “internal struggle.”

It’s difficult for many people to understand the LGBTQIA+ community, she said, because “society puts pressure on girls to be the perfect housewife and for men to be the protector of their wives and children.”

As she has matured, Jocelyn says she has come to understand who you love isn’t a big deal.

“Same-sex love, opposite-sex love, non-binary love, it’s all the same love — just experienced in different ways by different people,” she said “And some advice for people struggling: You’ve got a friend in me. There’s a whole bunch of people ready to embrace you with open arms whenever you’re ready.”

Meet Lori Carless, 49, of Providence.

Lori is a math teacher at Attleboro High School with a passion for education and a leaning to make every student feel comfortable under any circumstance.

When she moved from Michigan to Providence with her “roommate” of eight years, she accepted a job offer at AHS. Immediately, she was surrounded by supportive colleagues who made her and her “roommate” feel comfortable.

“We finally felt out, and it was OK. We could live life and talk about it just like any other couple would,” she said. “The East Coast rocks!”

Lori and her wife recently celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary and 30 years of being together.

Lori said it was difficult when she came out at a younger age because of “my own internalized homophobia stemming from my upbringing.”

“I was uncomfortable making others uncomfortable, so it was easier to just not talk about it,” she said.

It’s easier now to come out now, she said, because there are famous celebrities, athletes and politicians who just happen to be gay.

“When I was growing up, there was no one else like me out there,” Lori said. “Now, it’s more normalized and younger people, especially, are more tolerant and accepting.”

Her advice to anyone coming out: “Be brave. Stay true to yourself. Understand that change is difficult for everyone involved, but love should prevail.”

Flipped out



Photo By: Paul Connors The Sun Chronicle Staff – AHS seniors Ty Treichler (left) and Paul DeLuca (right) flip water bottles. 

By: Abigail DesVergnes

So long, Pokemon GO! You’re sooo last summer.

Here comes the latest kid craze, somewhat to the annoyance of school officials.

It’s called bottle flipping – and as fads go, it couldn’t be more straightforward.

Just grab a half-filled water bottle by the cap, flip it in the air and hope it lands upright.

Straightforward it might be, but it’s harder than you probably think.

What happens if the bottle lands on its side? Try, try, try again and again and again.

Look around next time you’re out. Bottles are flipping everywhere.

Now, you might ask, what’s the point?

“Bottle flipping kills time, is challenging and harmless,” Attleboro High School senior Tyler Treichler said.

Brennan Middle School student Alec Eaton of Attleboro says he enjoys bottle flipping simply because “it’s fun.”

Jason Pappone, 14, of Attleboro goes so far as to say it’s addictive.

Serious bottle flippers will attest to that. Treichler bottle flips every day at lunch, trying to beat his record from the day before. So far, that’s landing 48 flips in a row.

Apparently, it’s all in the wrist.

Eaton and his friends try to out-flip each other in their free time.

“We get pretty competitive. It’s a very entertaining activity,” he said.

If there’s a downside, it’s the crinkle, crunch and thump of the bottle landing, which some teachers and parents find irritating.

Some schools in the Attleboro area and across the country have banned bottle flipping, entirely.

An official at Brennan Middle School, for example, confirmed the activity is not allowed on school grounds because of the potential for injury, and bottle flippers risk punishment.

“There are rumors that water bottle flipping will get us a detention – or even worse,” Eaton said.

Champion bottle flippers have another take.

“To be honest, many people get annoyed by water bottle flipping,” Treichler allowed. “But, I think the real reason they are annoyed is because they can’t beat my record.”

Attleboro High School senior is very funny




Photo by: Mark Stockwell-The Sun Chronicle Staff


By: Abigail DesVergnes

Live, from Attleboro High, it’s Saturday Night!

Well, some of the jokes, at least.

Ask AHS senior Ally Beard, who acted on a whim and is still pinching herself.

It’s not a dream, although it is a dream come true.

Beard has a passion for comedy that started at a young age, leading to improv classes, talent shows, open mic standup – and now, a spot as a freelance writer for “Saturday Night Live.”

“Throughout my life, I’ve always wanted to be on SNL – or at least write for it – but now, I guess that’s what I’m doing,” she said.

Beard applied in early September for a position as a freelance writer for the Weekend Update segment of SNL. The application included 10 jokes she had to write based on current news headlines.

She sent in the packet, and hoped for the best.

Two weeks later, she received the “greatest news imaginable.” An SNL producer read through her jokes, affirmed the staff liked them and offered her a position as a freelance joke writer.

“It’s a moment I will never forget,” Beard said.

Each week she’ll send in jokes to the show’s producers, who might or might not put them on the air. The catch: She won’t know until she watches the show if they use her jokes.

“The day I see my jokes on air is the day that all my life’s dreams would come true.”

But before Beard got her TV gig, she was a just a young girl with an immense passion for making people laugh.”It’s one of the best feelings ever,” she said.

It started in seventh grade, when she watched “The Women of SNL” special.”I never laughed so hard,” Beard said. “I remember thinking: I want to make people laugh like this.”

Then came eighth grade, and she performed the SNL skit “Surprise Party,” starring Kristen Wiig, at the Brennan Middle School talent show.
“I became hooked. People were actually laughing at my jokes,” Beard said. “From then on, that’s all I’ve wanted to do.”

Once high school came around, comedy had became a part of her.

As a freshman, she began taking improv classes at the Warwick Center for the Arts in Warwick, R.I., a Christmas present from her dad.”It was unlike any other form of comedy. Spontaneity started to become a key factor in my performance,” Beard said.

By sophomore and junior year, she began performing at venues throughout New England, from Comedy Connection in East Providence to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

But this past summer, living in Manhattan for two months with a family friend, Beard caught a glimpse of what her future might look like.

She rode the subway each day to the famous Upright Citizen Brigade Training Center, where she was instructed in improv by writers and performers for “Saturday Night Live” and other hit TV shows and movies.

“I learned so much – not just comedy, but being independent,” she said.

It’s been a whirlwind, but it could be only the beginning.

“Ultimately, I can see Ally working as a full-time staff writer for a television show,” said he father Eric Beard. “It’s really what she has wanted to do ever since she was 11 years old, and I think it’s really pretty cool.

“Her dream is her’s to live. I’m just along for the ride and the laughs.”

Millennials are putting the ‘mock’ in democracy with Snapchat filters




Screenshot from a snap chat filter that poked fun at the debate.

By: Abigail DesVergnes

The presidential debate that was the most watched in history might also have been the most mocked.

Monday night’s debate had citizens of all ages tuned in, eager to watch the long-awaited faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Many people – millennials in particular – took to social media where they expressed their impressions of the debate. Meme’s, video clips and pictures of the candidates were posted across Twitter and Facebook feeds.

But the funniest postings were from the popular photo and video app Snapchat.

People across the Attleboro area and across the country used Snapchat filters to distort the candidates’ faces – turning them into dogs, deer, bumble bees – you name it.

Attleboro resident Linda D’Agostiono, 56, said the Snapchat filters “put a cast of humor on an otherwise depressing political scene.”

As the debate frequently veered off course, with the candidates interupting and speaking over one another, Snapchat was a way for viewers to strike back.

Michaela Fontaine, 17, of Attleboro used the Snapchat filters to reflect how she felt about the debate: “What I watched was more of an argument than a debate – it was a chance for each candidate to trash each other.”

Kyle Mercier, 20, of Attleboro was scrolling through his Snapchat account on his smartphone when he saw picture after picture of the candidates with their faces distorted.

He couldn’t help but laugh when he saw Trump and Clinton portrayed as animated deer.

“People aren’t taking this seriously because the candidates aren’t taking this seriously,” Mercier said. “They are both proving untrustworthy, while making fools of themselves on national television.”

The question is: Why were so many kids using the Snapchat filters during the debate?

The answer: “The filters were a joke, and so was the debate,” Fontaine said.

Review: More Than This


more than this

By: Lydia Robinette

The novel More Than This by Patrick Ness is a thrilling, mystery that focuses on the strange happenings around a sixteen year old boy named Seth Wearing. The novel starts off with Seth’s death. Soon after in the novel, he woke up again in a small English town that he used to live in.

The novel’s mystery is centered on futuristic coffins in which the entire world’s population now resides in a form of stasis, and is guarded by a mysterious robot that protects the people inside. In the book Seth and two other characters escape the coffins and discover exactly what has happened to the world, and why.

More than this is a thrilling novel, with its insane plot-twists and writing that makes the reader feel as if they were right there living through the action with the characters. Ness’s book radiates a matrix-esque feeling, because the characters are given the knowledge that all of the world’s population is in a fake computer world and they are the only three that exist outside of it.

The main character wasn’t so sure until the final moments of the book that he knew which world was real or not, and this struggle is what made the story so much more relatable. Instead of having a hero who knows exactly what to do to survive and manages to fix everything and gets a happy ending, Ness gives the reader a child who reacts in a realistic way to everything thrown at him. Seth’s story of fighting to know the truth then fighting to cope with it is so raw- leaving the readers with many emotions.

Published in 2013, by the Candlewick Press More Than This has been reviewed by many prominent magazines and people, one of which was John Green, another author of young adult novels who simply said, “just read it.” This book deserves 4.5 out of 5 stars for its amazing writing and perfectly executed mystery.




Students Have Mixed Opinions On Year-Round School



Student Eric Munguia feels a change in calendarwould not be beneficial.    Photo by Daris Chikliwala

By: James Nordbergand Darius Chikliwala

Summer is around the corner, and students are very eager to get out of school, but this prolonged break can have negative consequences on students of all ages. A solution is to exchange the current calendar for one that features the same total number of school days, but extends into summer while adding shorter more frequent vacations.

7 students were interviewed randomly at lunch about if they supported the current calendar or favored a year-round alternative. An example given to them was a calendar featuring nine weeks of school alternating with three-week breaks. The kids were also given two quotes from summerlearning.org before they made their decision. The quotes were “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains,” and “Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. Most children—particularly children at high risk of obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break.”

“I’d like more frequent vacations,” said student Nathan Barboza when asked if he would prefer the year-round calendar. “Yeah staying healthy is important,” was his response to if the quotes impacted his answer.


Nathan Barboza, Sophomore, gesturing towards himself

Other students were more skeptical of the benefits of changing the calendar. “No because I still feel kids will still lose knowledge over the smaller breaks,” said student Eric Munguia when asked if the calendar should be changed.

Some students feel it simply doesn’t matter much to which calendar is used. “I don’t care,” said student Abigail Boudreau. “I’m not going to get obese,” said student Sarah Pimental when asked how the quotes impacted her choice.


Sarah, Avery and Abby (L-R)

Sentimental feelings factored in for other students. Matt Jimenez and Will Pion both agreed that Summer has always been something to look forward to. “I like it the way it is because it’s the way it’s always been,” said student Avery Schroder.


Will (Left) Matt( Right)

Some schools already use a year_round calendar. “During the 2011-12 school year, the most recent year for which data is available, about 4 percent of public schools were operating on a year-round schedule, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. That’s 3,700 schools, 400 of which are charter schools,” said Jaclyn Zubrzycki from edweek.org. While not many schools operate on this system nearby, it is much more common in the South and the West.

A year-round calendar doesn’t come without its own problems. According to Elisabeth Palmer and Amy Bemis, things such as increased administrator burn-out, scheduling conflicts with family vacations and school or community activities, difficulty in arranging daycare, having siblings on different attendance schedules, and difficulty in scheduling teacher in-service days are all disadvantages.

Bemis and Palmer also believe that this “May require additional operating costs, lack sufficient time for maintenance, be inconvenient for teachers (who may have to change classrooms during the year), lead to overworked clerical staff or administration, increase difficulties in communicating with staff or parents, and result in some students missing school events scheduled at off-track times.”





Getting ready for the Fourth!

By: James Nordberg

Over Memorial Day weekend a carnival took place at Lasalette Shrine in Attleboro Mass.  Festivities included rides, games, food, and a firework show. The Attleboro Fourth of July events will be held at Hayward Field on North Avenue beginning at 4:30 p.m., Sunday ,July 4th. Lets hope the festivities are up to par with Memorial Day’s.


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