There is a newly-formed student group within the Changemaker Program whose focus is to promote and foster various celebrations and awareness weeks that align with values of inclusivity, social justice, and environmental stewardship. The group represents students from a variety of year levels and backgrounds to ensure a broad range of perspectives and ideas. We thank all involved in supporting these young changemakers as they work towards supporting a globally-minded and empathetic school community.
They have already been busy this year with whole school celebrations around Epilepsy Week, and we are pleased to share some insights with you about their work towards Cultural Diversity Week and Harmony Day.
Cultural Diversity Week
During the preparations for this special week, the student group came together to discuss the importance of exploring our school’s multiculturalism. They recognised that while many of us may appear to share similar ancestry, the diversity of our backgrounds is often hidden in the history of our families. As a result, they committed to this year’s Cultural Diversity Week theme of celebrating and reflecting on the contributions of Victoria’s multicultural communities, under the banner of ‘Our Past. Our Future’. By exploring our past, we can better understand and appreciate the richness of our cultural heritage, and work towards building a more inclusive and diverse future. Stemming from the work of these students, all Year 7 to 10 students have explored the concept of cultural diversity during their Homeroom times and each individual has completed a profile about themselves and their ancestors.
Another component of Cultural Diversity Week is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Tuesday 21 March 2023. In Australia, this day is also Harmony Day and at Preshil we decided to celebrate both days on Friday 24 March 2023!
On this day, all students joined us in this special celebration with a Culturally Diverse Shared Lunch gathering on the front lawn to acknowledge this celebration of diversity. Students and staff got cooking and joined in this culturally diverse experience by bringing a sharing platter with finger food from a country of their heritage (or choice).
There were some special additions to the Whole School Meeting with an ‘Orange’ dress theme to mark the occasion of Harmony Day. Some highlights are shared below.
An Acknowledgement of Country was shared in different languages by teachers and students:
Our students shared some background about Cultural Diversity Week and the impact that inclusiveness has on our national and Victorian identity:
Year 11 student, Devin, performed a special improvised piece of music from the Hungarian culture:
At Preshil, we have courageous staff that walk the talk! BK Teacher Jessica Wu recently shared some insight into her cultural background with our Secondary students at a Whole School Meeting in recognition of Cultural Diversity Week. Thank you, Jessica, for being brave and sharing this valuable cultural information with our students:
Harmony Day in Australia is a complex and multifaceted event that reflects the country’s diverse cultural landscape. It represents a celebration of the country’s cultural diversity and the harmony that can be achieved through the acceptance and celebration of different cultures. It also acknowledges the ongoing challenges and complexities of achieving true harmony in a society that has a history of discrimination.
At Preshil, we acknowledge that there is more work to be done to both address and reduce discrimination by engaging in critical reflection and action to address the deeper structural issues that impact social cohesion in Australia and across the world.