Harmony Day - celebrating diversity
Everyone belongs. Harmony Day is one of the favourite cultural celebrations on the school calendar.
This year, both junior and senior school were involved in activities across the Kindergarten to Year 12 campus. As students entered the school, teachers handed out orange ribbons during roll-call to signify a day to think about inclusion, respect and belonging.
Mr Steven Bennett, Deputy Headmaster said, "Harmony Day is a national day of cultural respect and acknowledgement to all those who call Australia home - from indigenous people, whose ancestors have called Australia home for over 40,000 years, to those who have travelled thousands of kilometres to live in Australia.
"It is important for all of us to embrace the opportunity to collectively celebrate cultural diversity. Harmony is about respect, generosity, caring for others, friendship, selflessness and a sense of belonging."
An explosion of colour, costume, light and sound
The day began with our traditional Harmony Day parade. 80 children and teachers wore traditional costume or dress to represent the heritage of over 30 countries and indigenous cultures around the world. From Iceland to South Africa, Columbia to South Korea, we celebrated the incredible diversity that makes up our community at CCGS.
The wet weather did not dampen spirits. Staff and students led a parade through the new community neighbourhood spaces of the Junior School. Music pumped through the speakers helping bring a carnival atmosphere to the parade. Students clapped and cheered their friends.
The parade continued with a Chinese song performed by students of Chinese origin and 'Hello to all the children of the world' sung by each year group.
What does diversity mean to you?
In senior school, Year 12 students led discussions with their Year 7 to 11 peers about diversity.
Mr Aaron McLuckie, Head of Languages said, "We wanted to drive deep and meaningful conversations between students about belonging, diversity and inclusivity.
"Rather than having teachers lead discussions, we asked Year 12 to be involved. This kind of peer to peer learning, mentoring and collaboration allowed the students to have open and honest conversations that perhaps may not have been as easily facilitated if a teacher was guiding the groups."
Students explored questions like what does it mean to belong, what does diversity mean to you, how can we celebrate diversity at school and how can we be more inclusive. The conversations were rich and engaging.
Harry Mangos, Year 9 said, "Diversity is the acceptance of other peoples' cultures."
Elyse Mostowyj, Year 9 added, "Diversity means being proud of a culture that is really united and celebrates cultures as one together."
A sense of belonging
Students and staff each designed a paper hand to represent what diversity, belonging and inclusivity means to them. Over 1,300 hands were joined together in a wonderful art installation display. Students and staff celebrated differences and embraced what makes us all unique.
"If we were all the same, life would be terribly boring. Diversity is not something to ignore. Diversity is not something to tolerate.
"It is something to embrace, to celebrate. Let’s celebrate our diversity, our unique qualities, and accept everyone for who they are. Central Coast Grammar School is inclusive of all people and everyone belongs here," said Mr Bennett.
Harmony Day is 21 March, which is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. For more information visit www.harmony.gov.au/about.